Best & Less & watermelons

While Dr Mumbo welcomes any brand that makes an effort to diversify away from a relentless sea of white faces on their advertising, Dr Mumbo is a little surprised to see the cover of the new Best & Less catalogue currently being distributed across Australia.

Given the stereotype around black people and watermelons, is this cover shot really ideal?

best and less

 

As Dr Mumbo’s informant puts it to him: “Arguably the most insensitive imagery on a retail catalogue possible, and B&L has an American CEO. What were they thinking??”

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia, 1909 postcard

Comments


  1. DH
    21 Oct 13
    10:38 am

  2. I had NEVER heard about this stereotype until reading this article. All i saw were 3 girls enjoying a traditional fruit enjoyed by millions of Australians every summer.

    America is not Australia, and the same stereotypes and “insensitivities” don’t apply.

  3. Gary
    21 Oct 13
    10:48 am

  4. I’d never heard of this stereotype either, probably most Australians in Australia won’t have wither

  5. Krystal
    21 Oct 13
    10:55 am

  6. I’d never heard of this stereotype either. Agree with DH here.

  7. ellymc
    21 Oct 13
    11:12 am

  8. Have to disagree DH, this is an extremely well known trope.

  9. whoops
    21 Oct 13
    11:24 am

  10. everyone knows if you show black people eating watermelons, fried chicken or grits it’s going to be called out as a racist jibe.

    at least, anyone in the communications industry should know this.

  11. Simon
    21 Oct 13
    11:25 am

  12. “Given the stereotype” – that’s pretty leading and an example of ironic process theory. That’s like saying, “don’t think of a pink elephant.”

    Now that you’ve pointed it out, people will link it to racist stereotypes, whereas previously they did not.

    Incidentally, did you contact Best & Less for comment?

  13. Bill Eric
    21 Oct 13
    11:25 am

  14. Ummmm, so what stereotype??? News to me.

  15. Dani
    21 Oct 13
    11:37 am

  16. I’d never heard of it either! Nevertheless, doesn’t seem all that clever not to do your research before publishing!

  17. Man who knows these things.
    21 Oct 13
    11:41 am

  18. @Whoops: you forget grape soda – apparently African Americans love grape soda.

    This is a very common stereotype and it is hard to believe no-one in the catalogue process put their hand up and said ‘let’s rethink this’ – classic marketing group think. Dr Mumbo is right to point this out.

  19. Daniel Reeders
    21 Oct 13
    11:55 am

  20. Guise, guise, relax: DH is ignorant so that makes it okay.

  21. Chris
    21 Oct 13
    12:04 pm

  22. You know what’s a stereotype in Aussie ads? Asian women paired up with Caucasian men. No-one’s ever had the balls to show an Asian male with Caucasian woman.

  23. Encyclic!
    21 Oct 13
    12:06 pm

  24. Oh for fuck’s sake, are you people being serious that you’ve never heard of this stereotype? What are you, 12?

  25. Groucho
    21 Oct 13
    12:10 pm

  26. The problem with showing diverse ethnic groups is that there are pitfalls with every group, and always someone ready to criticise and exploit mistakes. The default position becomes vanilla people. Then the critics cry non representation. Its a no win situation. That being said watermelons have been the subject of a well known racist joke and it is hard to imagine that nobody involved had heard it.

  27. Oops
    21 Oct 13
    12:27 pm

  28. I have heard of this stereotype as well, and its a shame that Best & Less hadn’t. But Best & Less are one of the better companies for using cultural diversity in their catalogues, so I will accept this as a slip up.

    Look at a Kmart Toy catalogue for the difference, it seems only white children like toys in Australia or the Westfield Family Calender where only white children are shown. To me this is much worse, than an oversight of an American stereotype

  29. Ricki
    21 Oct 13
    12:36 pm

  30. The American CEO would most definitely know about this well known US stereotype so this suggests to me they didn’t see this work before it went out.

    It’s really not good enough to say ‘I’ve never heard of this’. We live in a global comms marketplace and there really is no excuse not to be on top of these things. While most Australians won’t find an issue with it, how long will it be before American media pick up on it? The only way it will appear then is that B&L and by extension Australians, are either ignorant, or racists, or both. Way to go.

  31. TISM
    21 Oct 13
    12:43 pm

  32. Australia, don’t become America.

  33. Andrea
    21 Oct 13
    2:14 pm

  34. You learn something new every day. I’d never heard of this stereotype either.

  35. paris
    21 Oct 13
    2:21 pm

  36. Surely the assumption that Best n Less is only for African American people in Australia is more offensive than the watermelon inference!

  37. PC Gone Mad
    21 Oct 13
    2:22 pm

  38. Sure, I know this stereotype in the US, but this really just represents a very summery image in Australia. Completely harmless until someone makes a big deal out of it.

  39. Lucky
    21 Oct 13
    2:22 pm

  40. I know of the trope, but didn’t think it really applied in Australia, so didn’t think of it in that context when I first looked at the cover. But you’d think the models in the shoot might have said something if it was THAT offensive?

  41. S
    21 Oct 13
    2:29 pm

  42. I had never heard of this stereotype either. Wonder what proportion of Big W customers (or catalogue recipients) have. I guess they’ll soon find out.

  43. fibbest
    21 Oct 13
    2:30 pm

  44. I have never heard of it and still don’t understand what is derogatory about it…?

  45. LastLineLenny
    21 Oct 13
    2:33 pm

  46. It looks like Islanders eating an island fruit. And even if it is a stereotype, what’s negative about it? For Australians anyway.
    I can’t see this as being any different to showing an Italian family eating pizza!
    Don’t want to sound like I’m stereotyping, but can we leave the “hysterical over-reaction to everything” attitude with the Americans? Thanks.

  47. LIsa
    21 Oct 13
    2:36 pm

  48. I’d never heard of it. The only association I know of with watermelons is that they are a label for people who are greenies on the outside and communists on the inside!

  49. Encyclic!
    21 Oct 13
    2:38 pm

  50. “I’ve never heard of it, therefore it doesn’t exist”

    Outstanding, gentlemen.

  51. Benster
    21 Oct 13
    2:39 pm

  52. Seriously, guys, if the comments above represent the level of general knowledge in readers of this newsletter, we’re all doomed.
    How can you exist in an English-speaking world dominated by the US across all forms of media and NOT know of this stereotype?
    Good grief – the level of self-professed ignorance is breathtaking.
    And I would guarantee that the American CEO of B&L is familiar with it, too.
    Now let’s have a catalogue picture of an Aboriginal standing on one leg and holding a spear…

  53. offal spokesperson
    21 Oct 13
    2:44 pm

  54. It is pretty well known, but more American than Australian. On the other hand the positive imagery of someone other than a white Australian on our media must be a good thing.

    clumsy but positive, i give it 2.5 stars.

  55. Fuffandbluster
    21 Oct 13
    2:48 pm

  56. Never heard of this stereotype either.

  57. andrea
    21 Oct 13
    2:57 pm

  58. How on earth did that get through?!

  59. Mini Mogul
    21 Oct 13
    3:00 pm

  60. I presume all advertising for watermelons in Africa etc. is devoid of people?

  61. Brett Ramsey
    21 Oct 13
    3:05 pm

  62. OMG! What were they thinking? If they were ignorant of this issue then it’s bad enough and you’d have to wonder what they are doing in the communications and media industry.
    If it was a deliberate ploy to generate heat, then heads must roll.

  63. Mini Mogul
    21 Oct 13
    3:07 pm

  64. The models appear to be either of Polynesian, Samoan or similar region. decent. Not African. This is an Afro-American stereotype, not a Pacific region stereotype.

  65. A
    21 Oct 13
    3:14 pm

  66. It is 2013 and we still see this racist non-sense. I applaud the diversity, but the imagery negates any potential goodwill. Glad to say I never shop at Best and Less and will never.

  67. B Lim
    21 Oct 13
    3:25 pm

  68. Well, you may not have heard of the trope. But if you are employed in communications and media it is your business to know what your perceived message will be. If it’s online, it’s a potential international audience. As to Groucho’s comment of companies using Caucasian as a default because of possible sensitivities, I’ve no doubt that’s an element in well-intentioned but feeble pr and marketers. But that doesn’t excuse cultural laziness. All it takes is a conversation. The fear of offence isn’t greater than the damage caused by inaction. And would rather see a faux-pas, let it gain recognition, and then be rectified, than nothing at all. Very glad to see Best and Less using non-Caucasians in their advertising.

  69. Steve
    21 Oct 13
    3:29 pm

  70. I’ve never heard of it, I wonder how many Aboriginals have?

  71. No Idea
    21 Oct 13
    3:37 pm

  72. It’s an obviously deliberate stereotype – it makes my skin creep. On the other hand, pretty blond children have the same effect.

  73. Watermelon farmer
    21 Oct 13
    4:01 pm

  74. I’m disgusted to see my product displayed alongside people!

  75. john hollands
    21 Oct 13
    4:12 pm

  76. Wow.
    Coloured folks n watermelon.
    Aboriginies on one leg holding a spear.
    Next we’ll see Priests holding a child close, or someone on their knees…

    Was it KFC showed an Aussie (caucasian) cricket fan sitting among a West Indian group, looking worried until they shared some KFC. Howls of protest in the US from commentators not understanding our traditional rivalry with WI but reacting to a white fella giving fried chicken to coloured fellas. Oops, who’d a thunk it?

    People, get out and travel, then you won’t be like a pork chop at a synagogue. Won’t eat with your left hand in Arabic lands. You’ll know to put up the thumb or finger to indicate approval You’ll be less likely to offer potato stew to Paddy and crayfish to Uncle Sol. You’ll see women barefoot in kitchens and children in factories.

    Best & Less could do an adult range; get some Winnie Blues, a flagon of port, stubbies and thongs… no stereotypes there, just good Aussie icons.

    The Sir Les Patterson of the retail world.

  77. Mini Mogul
    21 Oct 13
    4:47 pm

  78. It’s possibly a positive thing that some comments are from people confirming they don’t know this stereotype. Maybe the negative connotation has finally passed. The newer generations may view the image of a non-caucasian eating a watermelon and think nothing negative of it. It’s initial derogatory intent may have finally run out of steam.

  79. Aiwaiwa
    21 Oct 13
    4:59 pm

  80. Sigh, yes, Mumbrella. It’s a person with “dark skin” eating a watermelon. But they didn’t descend from the populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. They’re of Polynesian descent. I should know.

    See, this is the problem with you guys. You’re just as bad as the stereotype. You’ve conflated all “black people” into one monolithic group. Tell me, how “light” would their skin have had to be before the connection between the stereotype and the catalogue image couldn’t be made in your minds – and you weren’t “offended”?

  81. Rebecca
    21 Oct 13
    5:30 pm

  82. If you’re working in communcations, advertising, PR etc, and you’ve never heard of this, I will personally sit you down so we can go over how to apologise sincerely, since you will be needing it in the future. Really and truly. This is 2013, isnt’ it?

  83. Nicole
    21 Oct 13
    5:35 pm

  84. Aiwaiwa – thanks for setting all the PC sad sacks straight.

  85. andrew
    21 Oct 13
    5:37 pm

  86. Everyone like watermelon…move on people.

  87. Kate
    21 Oct 13
    5:42 pm

  88. @Encyclic! Hear hear!

    Research, people. Think about it.

  89. Montague Tigg
    21 Oct 13
    5:44 pm

  90. America’s Comedy Central channel recently explored this issue with signature tastelessness:
    http://youtu.be/4bAK8nWxZEY

  91. Lord Henry
    21 Oct 13
    5:48 pm

  92. Racism is all about cultural context. As far as I know, Best and Less have no stores in North America (where the stereotype is relevant). That particular stereotype has never existed in Australia and to censor advertising because someone somewhere with a different cultural context might be offended is ridiculous.
    Also, the people in the catalog look like they are Pacific Islanders – a group for which the stereotype doesn’t exist anywhere.
    Having said that, I wouldn’t have run that picture if it were me because I wouldn’t want to risk bad coverage.

  93. JordanPatrick
    21 Oct 13
    5:52 pm

  94. Should have just shelled out and bought mangoes guys, seriously.

  95. Nick
    21 Oct 13
    5:54 pm

  96. Never heard of the stereotype, but that’s irrelevant. It’s clearly not applicable to Australia and our aboriginal people, therefore nothing wrong with the ad at all. Getting way too PC for our own good.

  97. Yvonne
    21 Oct 13
    6:06 pm

  98. This reminds me of the Google watermelon incident :: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com.....-a-doodle/

  99. Yosi
    21 Oct 13
    6:10 pm

  100. You really can’t be serious.are you really so PC that you have to import an American stereotype.
    All I see is 3 Aussie girls enjoying a watermelon.no more no less.
    Get a life……….

  101. AdGrunt
    21 Oct 13
    6:40 pm

  102. Aiwaiwa makes the most salient point of the rabble of confusion. 10 points.

    Over-thinking and conflation abound when the pearl-clutchers and wowsers are in town.

    Now if they’d been bananas… or cotton plants…

  103. Fionafinewines
    21 Oct 13
    6:49 pm

  104. Overthinking people. But if I was being critical Id have to say I have been more sold on watermelon eating, than the brand. Hero of ad, pass me a cold slice immediately!

  105. Dr. Vanhouten
    21 Oct 13
    7:02 pm

  106. Do you suggest we scream bloody racist at an image that merely shows three dark skinned girls eating watermelon? If it depicted three white girls living in a trailer park it would not be classified as a racial stereotype. Reading too deeply into what is a sweet image.

  107. Jo
    21 Oct 13
    7:02 pm

  108. Its a shame that’s what has come out of this catalogue. It includes very diverse imagery as does the tvc. I love the pregnant woman in a bikini and the range of sizes. It’s not often a company uses diversity without a press release positioning them as unique and at the forefront.

  109. Duncan
    21 Oct 13
    7:22 pm

  110. It’s an American stereotype for African Americans, and I’m not sure one person in that picture is…they look more like Islanders of some sort (not trying to sound racist) but Melanesian or similar? (sorry, I don’t know my differences in Pacific easians)

  111. Simeon
    21 Oct 13
    7:53 pm

  112. Sounds a lot like my Aussie wife who didn’t get the racist overtones of the Golly Wog and the work colleague who turned up at a work fancy dress party in full black face. The problem here is that it is very difficult for whiteppeople to understand the impact of these seemingly harmless things. White people live in a society where the norm is white and cannot therefore see any negative subtleties in ‘white’ stereotypes. Not the examples given above that people may recognise as stereotypes of a particular class rather than race. If you can’t see any negatives in your own colour stereotypes then you are unlikely to believe that different races can see anything negative in portrayal of their race in this way.

  113. Inthegame
    21 Oct 13
    8:33 pm

  114. This is a nice catalogue for what it is and I didn’t know about the stereotype, nor do I think it had racist intent. But here’s the thing, the fact that we are talking about it indicates that somehow, in all of the many in-house and agency people involved in the production or sign off of something like this, nobody picked this as a risky idea. Or even worse, nobody is thinking about the social, legal or cultural implications of their digital work. Ignorance of understood perceptions on the global stage is not very smart, for any marketeer or retailer.

  115. Hello
    21 Oct 13
    8:41 pm

  116. Ignorance is no excuse. This is an offensive link and B&L should have done their research. We seem to think we’re in a protective bubble from racism here in Australia. Remember that awful Hey Hey incident? It took an American to point out just how racist and offensive black face was. We need to be more aware, no excuse.

  117. Anonymous
    21 Oct 13
    9:55 pm

  118. Last week Nissan released an ad positioning a red headed child as the family underdog and no one said a thing. It seems in Australia marginalising people is acceptable when they’re ginger. Show some diversity however on the cover of a Best & Less cover and it’s racism.

  119. Jd
    21 Oct 13
    10:06 pm

  120. I’m an experienced marcoms professional, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never heard of this stereotype. I consider myself educated, and I’ve lived in North America for 7 years. Whilst this doesn’t absolve responsibility, it makes me wonder whether perhaps the marketers at Best and Less are no different – and did not intentionally set out to portray the image as such. Why should Australians apply an African American trope to Islanders? Are they offended, or are we just insinuating that they should be?

  121. John Grono
    21 Oct 13
    11:33 pm

  122. On behalf of all drunken cricket fans with a watermelon on their head I am offended.

    Seriously though, kudos to aiwaiwa for his/her comment.

  123. Natalie
    22 Oct 13
    12:52 am

  124. Im intrigued, I will admit that I too dont understand of this stereotype. Could someone, in the words of Miss. Hanson, “please explain” the story behind watermelons being eaten by African people to be offensive?

  125. Richard Moss
    22 Oct 13
    8:31 am

  126. There was a relationship between the watermelon and the African American slave, this image of simplicity and fake happiness was used so much that it became an unattached visual image and part of the US scene. Companies were using the images of happy healthy little black children eating watermelons for many years after slavery was abolished, and even today day, the image is used.

    The term ~ this job “sucks” has its origins in profanity, as does ~ I must get the brakes fixed on this “Mother.” But we don’t wring our hands and feel guilty about it, we accept that the world has moved on.
    The word “poppycock” is considered a rather stiff and formal word for something of little truth or importance, when , in fact, it is old dutch for “Sloppy shit” but again, we don’t strike it out today because, the world has moved on.

    I hope that in my lifetime the world will have moved on far enough to let go of many of these old symbols which are no longer applicable. Always remember with utter repulsion and disgust the Holocaust, the loveless destruction of the American Indians and other native inhabitants, the first world war and the inhuman treatment of the African and other races deemed slaves, but also let the world move on and grow.

  127. Encyclic!
    22 Oct 13
    8:59 am

  128. Let me just google that for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon_stereotype

  129. Pot meet kettle
    22 Oct 13
    10:37 am

  130. It’s one thing for that 1909 image to be on wikipedia – for posterity’s sake. But Mumbrella, your posting it here is hypocritical and only keeps the racist stereotype alive.

    Besides, you’d be advised to look up the historical context of the word “Mumbo”, Dr Mumbo, before painting anyone as racist.

    Arguably the most insensitive pseudonym online. What were you thinking?

  131. Benster
    22 Oct 13
    11:25 am

  132. For those who couldn’t be bothered following up the references:

    “Stereotypical imagery of President Barack Obama consuming watermelon has been the subject of viral emails circulated by political opponents. After his election, racist watermelon-themed imagery of Obama has continued to be created and endorsed, some of it by members of the Republican Party.[5]

    In February 2009, Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose tendered his resignation letter after forwarding the White House an email deemed as stereotypical. The message displayed a picture of the White House lawn planted with watermelons.[14] Grose claimed that he was not aware of the watermelon stereotype.[15] A statue of Obama holding a watermelon in Kentucky drew criticism for being racist; the owner of the statue maintained that the watermelon was there because “[the statue] might get hungry standing out here.”

  133. Bec
    22 Oct 13
    12:27 pm

  134. Best and Less may not have hit the nail on the head with this one, however I commend them for at least making an effort to culturally diversify their advertising. Australia is such a multicultural society yet the modelling/advertising industries do not reflect this in the slightest.

  135. AdGrunt
    22 Oct 13
    12:34 pm

  136. Top tip everyone – Australia isn’t America.

  137. ed
    22 Oct 13
    1:03 pm

  138. It seems that every time the Australian media point out that something is racist there is an outpouring of people, making comments like – people are over-thinking the reference, we as a society are becoming too politically correct, they didn’t mean it. Maybe Best & Less have made a mistake , but it is Mumbrella’s responsibility as an industry publication to educate. It is not ok to do black face, call people gay or make ape and monkey jokes. When our kids say something derogatory or hurtful out of ignorance we correct them. Best & Less need to be informed . Good on Mumbrella for doing so.

  139. sneedy
    22 Oct 13
    1:33 pm

  140. you don’t choose models exclusively of african appearance and have them eat watermelon without knowing exactly what you’re doing. the idea that because many or even most australians are ignorant of the racist history of this trope doesn’t excuse the people who made the decision to use this image. i’ve heard the same arguments for the blackface jackson 5 skit on hey hey it’s saturday, gollywogs in shop fronts, etc etc. if you didn’t know it was racist why did you pick that particular image to show? blackface is an american tradition – you had to import it in the first place – so the responsibility was yours to do, oh, 30 seconds research on google to find out something of its 200+ year racist history – and it has always been thoroughly racist. why is it racist? because it deliberately infantilizes black people as simple happy creatures of appetite. so do pluck an image with a long racist past from another cultural tradition and then turn around and claim ignorance in your defense.

  141. sneedy
    22 Oct 13
    1:34 pm

  142. *don’t pluck* i meant to say

  143. @sneedy
    22 Oct 13
    3:50 pm

  144. You think the talent look African?
    They’re clearly Polynesian.
    I don’t want to be the one to drop the “so you think all darker skinned people are the same” line on you… but if the (watermelon) hat fits…

  145. david st george
    22 Oct 13
    4:10 pm

  146. I’ve heard of it and thought it was a fairly commonly understood stereotype albeit an American one. Seems that most commentators haven’t heard of it though.
    Seems to be a bit of a co-incidence that talent of this ethnicity and this fruit were teamed up as a cover image though. But as to potential offence? I don’t know – I’m a middle class white male, so not sure I can be offended on someone else’s behalf.

  147. Tim Durrant
    22 Oct 13
    6:48 pm

  148. Funny how you get 2 groups of very insecure people:
    – those who are irrationally indignant because somebody stated they were unaware of a stereotype;
    – those who are irrationally “offended” – most of them aren’t African and seem to enjoy perpetuating this ridiculous notion that Australia is very racist. You know what, if this group were just as concerned about offending others in REAL problematic areas e.g. treating spouse with respect, not using foul language around children, road ragers etc the world would be a more positive plaxe.

    Australians love a VB and surfboards. Do we get in a shit when we see these picturrs? of course not.

    Most people wouldn’t know the definition of racism from a bar of soap.

    what a piss weak country we’ve become.

    Wonder what the facebook do good ers do for a day job? Get a life.

  149. Tom Donald
    23 Oct 13
    9:36 am

  150. Oh the faux outrage.

    I’m married to an African-American.
    Our kids are “black” in the eyes of many.
    I’m super sensitive to issues of racism (like that fucking awful Tip Top bread ad that is out at the moment, which looks like the White Australia policy is still in place).

    But this one is a storm in a teacup.
    Yes, some African Americans now living in Australia might be offended, because they know of the stereotype from the US. And some overly PC white Americans (the most easily outraged people on the planet) might say “outrageous” and feel great about their puffed up chest.

    But most Australians have no idea about it. Zilch. Nada. Zip.
    It’s an unintentional blunder. Stop fanning the flames of indignation and bullshit.

  151. Sarah
    23 Oct 13
    3:13 pm

  152. The racist slur is only there for those who looked for it. Australia is multicultural. People like watermelon. These girls look like a happy lil family to me, not disadvantaged or part of a minority group. They are beautiful. Can’t fault B & L for showing a part of Australian society. Calm down people.

  153. Richard Moss
    24 Oct 13
    8:29 am

  154. Pulcinella,Pulcinello aka Puncinello or Punchinello, is a character from the commedia dell’arte who is directly related to Mr Punch in Punch and Judy.

    He is a white clown with a black mask (depicting life and death) and a huge nose, he is clumsy, has a twitch, speaks in an ugly voice and is usually portrayed as lazy, slow witted, ignorant and foxy. His name suggests a chicken, probably because of his beak-like nose.

    If anyone wanted to get defensive on the grounds of race, the underprivileged, the afflicted or the disadvantaged, Puncinello would be a good place to start. He predates Golliwogs, who by the way have no proven connection with African Americans and may well be of Egyptian origin.

    Whatever the dark origins of the 1909 postcard image depicted above, I have to look long and hard to force myself to see anything other than a sweet happy child with a wonderfully endearing smile. I can even see a depiction of sweet hope for the future, rather than a grim vision of the past; a past heavy with mistakes, misfortune and horrors that must never be forgotten.

  155. MM
    28 Oct 13
    10:43 pm

  156. First of all, we live in Australia. American traditions should not be emphasised into our media as a racist combo. I for one am disgusted that this is even a suggestion to a racist far cry or a way to publicize a company. For you to even bring up that there would be any intention of racism, would declare that racism still exists. If there had been any other race eating that water melon you probably would of pulled some other racist bs out of your as.. We live in a time frame where eating a piece of fruit is suppose to be a healthy way of living. I mean the emphasis is refresh, so a water melon would suffice as much as an energy drink would. The past is the past for a reason. Lets look to the future and leave the dark ages behind us.

  157. Jason
    1 Nov 13
    12:45 am

  158. Thank you, Best & Less, for making me aware of an offensive stereotype that you didn’t even perpetrate!

    I saw a summer campaign of summer clothes and a fruit we ALL like to eat in summer. The photo does not resemble the imagery of the past (which on research I found quite disturbing), and appears to me to show three happy girls. I didn’t even “see” their skin colour ’til it was pointed out, in fact I noticed the clothes first (which is what was being sold).

    They are NOT African-American, this is NOT offensive propoganda.

  159. greg
    3 Nov 13
    11:09 am

  160. To those saying that we should all know and carefully avoid USAian stereotypes: what is so precious about the USA?

    Day-in, day-out stereotypes relating to other nations/peoples are used mostly totally innocently and not a voice is raised about most of them. Following your logic, we should know about them all and consciously avoid them. That “Turkish delight” sounds so dangerously ambiguous …

    But we don’t know and you don’t know or even care either. Because in the end, this issue is just culture snobbery about the USA, grabbed as a handy excuse by some people to whip themselves into a self-righteous frenzy. Just grow up and notice the world outside the USA.

  161. robyn
    12 Nov 13
    11:26 am

  162. Extensively travelled, well-read, highly educated and importantly YOUNG people in Australia, such as myself, are unlikely to have heard of this negative connotation – certainly none of my workmates have – and this is a GOOD THING.
    All I saw was an Australian stereotype of Aussie kids eating watermelon in summer.
    As greg said, we cant expect marketers to know and avoid all racist stereotypes that exist in the whole world, so why should an accidental offensive American image get people so worked up?
    And anyway, as many above have pointed out, they are Polynesians not African Americans. Some might even consider the blatant lack of differentiation to be racist….

  163. Brian
    18 Nov 13
    2:38 pm

  164. Hilarious if iy wasn’t so sad

    I CAN’T BELIEVE some of you advertsing peeps could be so ignorant let alone the agency who developed this campaign.

    Simply because the watermelon and black people sterotyping may not have been so prevalent and such a sensitive issue in Australia nowadays it has defineitely existed. (If the editors of Mumbrella would like I can garner a test audience of Melanesian and Polynesian people who live in Australia – I’m fairdinkum here, I have a close association with a national community organiisation).

    What’s more appalling is that with a bit more smarts the “creatives” who did the ad could have communicated what they wanted to achieve simly by adding a better cross section of Austtralian society and had them eating a number of different summer kinds of fruit – now that wouldn’t that hard would it? Then agian the rag trade sin’t really known for its ethics ……