Nobody wants a red-headed kid

14 Aug

An Australian soda maker took a big risk this week by launching the campaign idea you see here.

controversial ad for Hakanoa swap your ginger

Parents of red-headed kids were encouraged to drop them off in exchange for a six-pack of Hakanoa ginger soda.

The advertiser admits he took a massive risk but hoped that a bit of light-hearted controversy would spike his brand. The question is, did playing the odds pay out for Hakanoa?

After a few days in the market, the ads were yanked, apologies were made and red-headed children were returned to their parents.

In related wtf news, the world’s largest sperm bank, Cyros International, has announced that it will no longer accept donations from red-heads, citing lack of demand.

Show your favourite ginger some extra love today.


13 Responses to “Nobody wants a red-headed kid”

  1. Derek Riedle August 14, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Doug Brown August 14, 2012 at 6:06 am #

      Don’t be getting any ideas Derek!

  2. hill copywriting August 14, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    And as my wife is a South Asian, I don’t really appreciate that stereotype appearing either — maybe they should’ve made it outside a doctor’s clinic? It’s amazing how negative subtle racial stereotypes still pop up in ads and TV shows sometimes… I think there’s no excuse for it. Damage is done. Thanks for highlighting this Doug.

    • Doug Brown August 14, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      They use these hot buttons issues to create some immediate buzz and then run like hell when the buzz turns into an angry swarm!

      • hill copywriting August 14, 2012 at 9:58 am #

        Yeah, maybe that’s what happens when you have no creativity left, just desperation. Hopefully they’ll pay with their pocketbooks on this one 🙂

  3. Amy August 14, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Calling the ginger kid an “it” was really in bad form. Maybe if they had used an Irish Setter as the ginger in question, it wouldn’t have been so bad? Probably not.
    I’ve never understood why red-heads (as we call them in ‘Merica) are so discriminated against. Is it the the pale skin and freckles that often go with the hair color? Is it an irrational fear of something different (like how lefties used to be treated)? I don’t get it.
    I mean, it’s not like they are short people. Now I can totally see wanting to trade shorties in for alcohol.

    • Doug Brown August 14, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      I cringed at the “it” comment too Amy, but if you’re going to go down, you might as well burst into flames on the way. Dogs? Short people? Short dogs? Naturally all fair game … more blog posts for me!

      It will ease your mind somewhat to know that Canadians don’t use the word “ginger” to describe gingers either. We call them carrot-tops.

    • Paul August 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Amy, Also not acceptable what you said.

      “I mean, it’s not like they are short people. Now I can totally see wanting to trade shorties in for alcohol.”

      • Doug Brown August 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

        Paul you can take my word for it that Amy’s tongue was firmly planted in her cheek. She’s just 4′ 7″ herself.

  4. Murray Kirk August 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Doug…Where do you find this stuff? One couldn’t make this stuff up in a month of Sundays. Its not only revolting, its moronic.

    • Doug Brown August 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      Murray, I’m interested in how my industry copes at the edge of the envelope. So I seek out the edges. There’s a whole world of good, bad and ugly out there. 🙂

  5. Patricia Craig August 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    As a red head I took no offense whatsoever in this ad campaign. I mean, come on people lighten up. I have two gingers kids that I would gladly swap for a six pack. It does contain alcohol right??? I think red heads have the best sense of humour. We have to. We have nothing else going for us. We are thought to be demonic and promiscuous, as well. Ain’t we great?

    • Doug Brown August 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Patricia, it seems that opinions neatly slice down the middle: those who think the advertiser should be marched naked through the streets, and those who laughed at the ad and asked everyone to lighten up. I hope you are still laughing when you find out it’s alcohol-free, like ginger ale!

      I hadn’t heard that red-heads were promiscuous. But I guess you have to use up what the sperm banks no longer accept. Thanks for the comment!

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