Do you find this ad offensive?

That was my first impression–a sexual one. A bunch of subservient guys bowing to their leader…yum! (Plus, I found the white guy pretty sexy.) Then when I realized they were all black (and…uh, the same guy), I got why people might find it racist.

Personally, I think the creepiest part is that it’s the same guy, over and over. That’s partly why I found the Oompa Loompas so odd in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (same guy, again and again and again).

Until I read the article, I thought the offense was going to come from the stereotype of blacks being good athletes. They still don’t look like they’re bowing to me.

I have to admit, when I looked at the poster I was trying to find the hidden offensive message. The first one I came up with was, “Aha! They’re portraying blacks as strong athletes and fast runners!”

Well — yeah. Aren’t the best runners from Kenya? I asked myself.

Then I saw what everybody else saw, and it made me wonder. Why did they photoshop all the runners that way? The light doesn’t even match.

That was pretty much my reaction as well.

Not only does the subservience jump out at you, but so does the fact that the subservients are faceless clones. The ad seems targeted to impersonal management-types who have come to think of their employees as dime-a-dozen. Was the ad company that short of money that they couldn’t find more than one guy to photoshop?

It’s not obvious that they are track runners, either. Probably because the copy doesn’t really link up well to the track metaphor.

So yeah, even ignoring the racial stuff, the ad is stupid.

Then the terrorists have won! Why do you hate America?

I didn’t see it. My assumption was that the runners were tanned from being outside.

Also, there was a lot of bad blood in NYC over how Starbucks had treated resuce workers at Ground Zero on 9/11.

Being aware of history, yes. Continuing to apologize for your ancestor’s mistakes? No.

If this ad came out in 1866, I could see your point. But immediately jumping to the conclusion that Intel is run by a bunch of racist bastards who want nothing more but a return to the good ol’ days of slavery implies another kind of racism, I think. (I do not think you are doing this, delphica, but someone must have, otherwise the ad would not have been pulled.)

It’s not helping that the sprinters are partially obscured by the desks, so it wasn’t immediately apparent to me what the hell they were doing. It’s just piss poor composition.

My first reaction was that it would make more sense to have the sprinters staggered because I was having a hard time with the fact that they were lined up head to head. After looking at the poster for a little longer I just started laughing. Someone definitely dropped the ball on this one. I don’t find it particularly offensive but one of the people reviewing stuff probably got tossed out for letting this one slip through. The racist interpretation is too prominent.

Offensive, no…confusing, yes.

It took me more than a minute to figure out that the men bending over were supposed to be sprinters. At first I thought they were all naked! Then I thought they were monks or something because of the bald head. But why are they bent over? I thought the monks were maybe praying to the dorky IT guy to try to make their computers faster…??

So after looking at it a few moments, I could see the sinister subliminal message…dark skinned employees praying to their white overlord. Not a happy message to be sure, and it sure doesn’t convey speed, which is what they are trying to sell. (I think!)

As someone upthread mentioned, an utter failure of a print ad.

Wow, I t didn’t even register that they were black…not paying attention I guess. I just thought the choreography was wierd…

The ad is stupid first – identical runners, facing each other – offensive second. I saw them as runners right away, and didn’t pick up on the bowing interpretation until I read the Snopes piece. Seeing them as bowing is a stretch – who bows like that?

If the runners had been a mixture of races, it’d still be stupid, because of the way they’re lined up.

Exactly my sentiments. How are we supposed to ignore race when some people are determined to keep drawing out racial implications where none are intended?

I don’t think we are supposed to ignore race. You can’t erase history.

It would be interesting to know how that ad came into being. Why use uniform colors that are, at a glance, basically invisible? Why eliminate the sprinters’ facial features? The lighting doesn’t make any sense because the runners are in deep shadow. Maybe it just shows the problem with doing everything on computers rather than hiring models - had they used real human beings to do a live shoot, I don’t think the picture would have come out as badly.

It would also be interesting to see the ad with the races reversed, to see what the visual impact would be.

Even if no racial meaning was intended, is it possible one was unintended? Ie: why didn’t it strike anyone at Intel or their agency as worth noting that all the runners are black males?

I wasn’t offended. I noticed that they were runners and that they seemed to be dark-skinned. It didn’t seem to me they were bowing, rather they were ready to take off from the blocks. I didn’t catch the “slaves bowing to a white master” interpretation until I read the Snopes article, and wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t pointed out to me. I interpreted it as a “Dilbert” style cubicle farm. I would say Intel was the victim of poor composition in the ad and no racist meaning was intended.

That’s what I got, too. Notice how their hands and feet are in the “sprinters position”.
Now, if the white guy was dressed as a referee and had a track gun held to the ceiling… that would make the analogy work.

I saw sprinters too, and only realized it could be offensive after reading the Snopes.

Misguided, stupid, not adequately thought out before being published, but I doubt highly that any ad agency, OR Intel is going to intentionally offend anyone.