A South African court has ordered Land Rover to make a public apology over an advertisement judged to be racist and of making a “mockery of African culture.”
The company admits it erred by publishing a newspaper ad that featured a semi-naked African woman in native dress whose elongated breasts were blown sideways in the tailwind of a passing vehicle. The image appeared next to the caption: “The new more powerful Freelander.”
Land Rover must publish a public apology in all the publications that carried the three-page ad. The replacement ads will contain a ruling by South Africa's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, which said the ad was “irresponsible (and) exploitative and constitutes racial stereotyping and violates human dignity. The insensitive portrayal of the woman makes a mockery of African culture.”
“It is the most appalling ad I have ever seen,” says Gavin Green, Land Rover's director of communications, in London. “It's a stupid ad, ill-judged and it certainly had nothing to do with the U.K. operation. We cannot have our company or our brand portrayed in this way. We pulled the ad days after it first ran, as soon as we were aware of it.”
Hunt Lasaus, the advertising agency behind the campaign, has been dropped by Land Rover.