Racheal Lee
Sep 5, 2013

When global sensibilities trump local marketing: Thailand's Dunkin' Donuts ad

BANGKOK - A controversy over a recent Dunkin' Donuts ad in Thailand, which was first defended by the local CEO and then pulled after it created negative publicity in the West, highlights a complication of marketing in the hyper-connected age.

The ad pictured for a new product called the “charcoal donut” featured an image of a woman with jet black hair and face, along with the slogan “Break every rule of deliciousness.”

Human Rights Watch complained about the ad, which brought it to the attention of western media, notably the Huffington Post. Particularly in the US, a non-black person donning makeup to appear black is seen as extremely inflammatory, as it hearkens back...

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