Monday, July 11, 2011

Eska in hot water over "Eskan Warriors" ad

Adrants reports that this Eska Water ad, by Toronto's KBS+P, has been permanently removed from TV (but not yet YouTube) with the apology, "Eska Water wishes to apologize to all those who may have found the campaign and its images disrespectful. Certainly, that was never our intention."

The ad uses the typical dry humour that Canadians like, but it was the portrayal of the "Eskan Warriors" that pissed people off. Especially Aboriginal people.

The problem is that times have changed. Twenty years ago, it was considered fair game to create a stereotyped cartoon image of "natives" of any country. Today, it is seen as offensive.

The native American blog, Newspaper Rock, in context of a different campaign five years ago, put it quite eloquently:

"What’s sad is that this isn’t an isolated incident. If anything, the whole Savage vs. Civilized dichotomy is one of the mainstream media’s favorite cliches. It pops up time after time after time.

The underlying message in all of these representations is the smug celebration of the supposedly inherent superiority of whiteness and “Western” culture."

In other words, it's a lazy trope that's got to go.

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