Momentum Energy pulls ‘culturally insensitive’ ad and apologises to Mexican community

Momentum Energy has pulled its ‘Less Hassle More Hustle’ TV commercial and apologised to the Mexican community following a complaint from the country’s ambassador about the ad.

Launched in late January, the ad featured a dinner guest breaking into Spanish midway through a conversation with the traditional Mexican folk tune, Jarabe Tapatío, playing in the background.

The ad, part of an integrated campaign created by BBE, ran across digital and cinema in February.

Following complaints on the company’s Facebook page, the Mexican ambassador to Australia, Eduardo Peña Haller, stepped in with a letter expressing his deep disappointment in the brand for using the tune and requesting the ad be withdrawn.

“As Ambassador of Mexico to Australia, I write to express my deep disappointment in regard to your recently launched campaign ‘Less Hassle More Hustle’, specifically its TV ad,” wrote the diplomat.

“While we do understand the appeal of humour in advertisement, we find the association of a Mexican traditional folk tune (Jarabe Tapatío) with negative connotations demeaning and culturally insensitive.

“Over seven thousand Mexican-born nationals currently reside in Australia, according to the latest census, a vibrant and mostly young community formed by very hard-working and well-qualified people. Some of them have written to us to express their concern regarding your publicity, which they find personally offensive.

“We kindly ask for this campaign to be rescinded and for an apology to be issued to the members of the Mexican community in Australia.”

In response to the complaints, Momentum took the ad down and managing director Amy Childs personally apologised to the Mexican community and the ambassador.

“Your Excellency, it was never our intention to upset or disrespect any member of the community and I’m very sorry that we have done so,” Childs wrote. “I offer my sincere and unreserved apology to the entire Mexican community of Australia, and personally to you as the representative of your government in Australia.”

Childs has also been personally apologising to individuals posting complaints on Momentum’s Facebook page.

Momentum have replaced the ad with a less contentious ‘robot mum’ commercial.


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