Beyonce more than proved that humble lemonade can, in fact, prove to be a somewhat controversial concept with her most recent musical offering. Sprite has now done the same, with far less appeal.
Causing outrage in Ireland, the fizzy drink brand owned by Coca-Cola used a sour line-up of sexist one-liners to push their banterous #brutallyrefreshing campaign, prompting widespread accusations of slut-shaming.
“She's seen more ceilings than Michelangelo” and “You’re not popular, you’re easy”, are just two of the misogynistic jokes used in the adverts, intended to target the male audience of Irish website JOE.ie.
Initially flagged by radio presenter Louise McSharry, who shared a screen grab of the offensive campaign on Twitter, social media channels have since flooded with backlash and denunciations of the adverts as slut-shaming on a global level.
“Someone actually approved this awful, misogynistic advertising campaign?” writes one user, while another adds: “A marketing firm convinced itself & @CocaCola that *abstract slut-shaming* was the way to go?! #BrutallyRefreshing.”
The seemingly ‘laddish banter’ aspect of the campaign has also come under fire.
While editor of JOE.ie, Paddy McKenna, was quick to assert that the message of the advert was in no way a reflection of the website’s brand values, a Coca Cola spokesperson has issued a somewhat cool apology.
“We're sorry for any offence caused by the #BrutallyRefreshing Sprite campaign in Ireland, which was intended to provide an edgy but humorous take on a range of situations,” reads the official statement.
“Since its introduction in Ireland, Sprite has been associated with individuality and self-expression and we have always been committed to ensuring we deliver the highest standard of advertising.
“We recognise that on this particular occasion the content did not meet this standard and we apologise. The campaign has now come to an end and the advert in question will not appear again.”
Naturally, Twitter has some feedback...