Dunkin' Donuts Does Blackface in Thailand

Dunkin’ Donuts has a new ad campaign here that is stirring up controversy, at least internationally, as I’ve not heard anything about it locally. Nor had I seen the ad myself until I went and looked it up after hearing about it online.

There’s a story about it here. And the ad itself is right here. I dunno. They probably should have guessed the attention this would bring, but I’m not sure it looks as bad as the old Darkie Toothpaste, since renamed Darlie, or even Black Man mops, which can still be found here.

I’m wondering if people would find it less offensive if they used real black people in the ads. Or would that still be considered offensive (internationally at least, as you mention you hadn’t heard about it locally)?

“Charcoal”??? Why would I try a charcoal donut?
With that “charcoal” label, I believe it would still be offensive to many abroad if an actual black person were used in the ad. If using an actual black model AND redesignated as whatever good-tasting thing about it happens to be black (e.g. Dark Sugar, Licorice, what have you), I suppose it would then seem just cluelessly 40 years out of date.

I have no idea what a “charcoal donut” is. It looks like just your basic black cake donut.

It’s a total overreaction, and a classic example of having a chip on one’s shoulder when it comes to racial issues.

Essentially the idea is that it’s a “charcoal” donut, and they’ve put a beautiful woman ALL in black as part of the ad. Not brown, not in the classic “blackface” style with pronounced lips or anything like that.

There’s no implication or hint or anything that it’s supposed to be “blackface” or that it has anything to do with african americans whatsoever.

Thought: If they’d called it a “Ruby” donut and painted the model bright red or if it was a “Sunlight” donut and they’d painted the model bright yellow, would native americans or asians get torqued out of shape as a result? Somehow I doubt it.

FWIW, THIS is blackface.

^That. Maybe I’m bring naive, but that just looks like somebody made up in black make up to fit the graphic design of the ad. It doesn’t look to me like “blackface” and the woman doesn’t seem to me to be intended to represent an black person.

Perception is everything. It doesn’t matter that it’s not stereotypical blackface. It’s boneheaded and, at best, makes DD look clueless.

Perhaps this was a local campaign not reviewed by DD corporate because I can’t imagine someone at DD HQ seeing a mock-up of the ad and not saying “Umm…hey guys, maybe we should discuss this with the Thai office.”

I think she looks gorgeous, personally.

But then, I like my women like I like my donuts: round, charcoal-colored, and with a hole in the middle.

This story identifies the model as the daughter of Dunkin’ Donuts’ Thailand CEO.

Am I the only one who looked at that picture and thought that she had a bone in her nose? There are two highlights, one on each side of her nose. I couldn’t figure out what they were till I zoomed in a little.

At that point I thought that she had a small bone in her nose and I could totally get the outrage.

Then I zoomed in further and looked closer and realized that it was just glare on the fronts of her nostrils.

I see it now. It does look like a bone in her nose. But you’re right, zoom in and it’s just the glare.

I guess without this thread, I would not have even noticed there was anything to be construed as offensive about the ad. I just see a sensible artistic use of color contrast, pink and black. What, you can’t wear black make-up at all without being construed as offensive? I mean, if most people say it reminds them of blackface and they perceive it as offensive, then I guess that’s what it is, but I personally just don’t see it. To me, it just looks like a graphical use of color. I mean, it’s actual “black,” nobody has skin tone like that. If they had, say, a vanilla donut and made somebody up in lemon yellow, would that be construed as offensive to Asians?

I also think this is nowhere near the “blackface” of ridicule…there is absolutely no intention of pretending this woman is anyone other than a woman who went a tad too far with mascara. Al Jolson singing “Mammy” was an infamous example of racist ridicule, but this DD photo comes nowhere near that level of offensiveness.

Maybe not the wisest of ad campaigns, but I think you would have to have pretty thin skinned to find some kind of racial insult with this photo.

I think if her lips were also black instead of pink it would rouse much less outrage.

If I saw this on my own outside of this thread I won’t have even thought blackface. Closer to Rebecca Romijn playing Mystique. Total overreaction. And I was arguing not that long ago with someone here that blackface is a well enough known insult that even outside the US they should be aware of its offensive nature.

Possibly. High-contrast lips are more reminiscent of historic blackface and could serve as a trigger to those for whom it is objectionable.
As a follow up to an earlier comment, pulykamell rightly points out how the ad itself provides no evidence that the image is supposed to portray an African or Melanesian person. Just trying to convey that the coal-colored donut is good, by showing a coal-colored cutie.

But good luck explaining that, when coming from the land of Hitler Fried Chicken.

Because it’s either that or the fish sauce donut.

I have to say the model does look good enough to, um, eat.

There comes to mind: one hears of “smokers’ holidays” – package deals for groups of smokers from countries where their habit is fiercely opposed, to go on holiday to a country where smoking is widely engaged in and largely accepted; gives them a break from being endlessly on the receiving end of criticism and hostility. Maybe Thailand’s tourist board might find it worth their while to target foreigners who find it tedious and annoying, in their own countries, to be perpetually pressurised toward political correctness in word and deed, and to always have to watch their step as regards that issue. (I’m not implying approval of smoking, or of people being crass and insensitive – just observing a possible money-making opportunity for the Thais.)

You might be right. I also thought the picture was lovely and that clearly the blackening of the entire ad (model included) was to go along with the black doughnut, but perhaps it was the bright pink lips set off some people’s triggers. I didn’t even register that at first, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I can’t stop seeing it.