Sprite is the latest brand to be accused of misogyny (see Saatchi and Saatchi, and Gap) after Twitter mobilized to criticise a curiously risqué ad campaign the soda brand elected to run focusing on sex.
Banner ads carrying slogans such as ‘A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2!’, ‘She’s seen more ceilings… than Michelangeo,’ and ‘You’re not popular, you’re easy’ were discovered on Joe.com, looking to get consumers using #BrutallyRefreshing.
Of course, a flurry of misogyny and sexism accusations came to dominate the feed on Twitter, unkeen on Sprite's apparent need to make such comments.
One Twitter user captured the full page buy on Joe.IE’s homepage.
Sprite: "We'd like to aim our product at a misogynistic audience."
— Tommy Smith (@tommyxcore) August 3, 2016
The digital campaign was widely criticised with a subversion of the brand’s hashtag.
Oh dear. #BrutallyRefreshing looks like a case of a brand's marketing team deciding that they didn't really want a job anyway. — Rob Clenshaw (@robclenshaw) August 3, 2016
Ad man-So what market are you aiming for? Sprite-Total arseholes Ad man-I've got just the thing #BrutallyRefreshing — shaun brilldream (@shaunbrilldream) August 3, 2016
#Sprite commits brand suicide publicly. Staggering #BrutallyRefreshing — David Billing (@davidjbilling) August 3, 2016
Sprite: "We'd love more arseholes to buy our drinks" Marketer: "Consider it done!"#BrutallyRefreshing @Sprite pic.twitter.com/J3gD9e4Ugy — Kate Gilson (@kategilson) August 3, 2016
Well there is NOTHING #BrutallyRefreshing about this ad by @sprite @JOEdotie what were you thinking publishing this? pic.twitter.com/XXfKz3k2kL — Alexandra Lever (@AlexLever) August 3, 2016
It's not #BrutallyRefreshing @CocaCola. It's a parade of misogynistic slurs, and a stain on your legacy. You should be ashamed of yourselves — Desktop Hippie (@desktophippie) August 3, 2016
Joe.IE has since removed the takeover. Editor Paddy McKenna issued an apology.
@louisemcsharry pic.twitter.com/x4rhhaP74Z — Paddy McKenna (@PaddyMcKenna) August 2, 2016
The campaign is intent on outing the uncomfortable truths between friends. The assumedly friendly joshing nature of the creative seems to have been lost in translation however.
Irish Snapchatters James Kavanagh and James Patrice helped head up the campaign in the following video.
A Coca-Cola spokesperson, said: “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.
“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."
Joe today announced the hiring a slew of senior staff, hailing a supposed new era of content 'for men, not lads'.