Intel issues apologies for racial insensitivity in its recently pulled new
(August 3, 2007) Intel, the computer chip maker, has been forced to
apologize for an advertisement which has been widely criticized as racist.
The ad, which was for a new generation of micro-processors, showed six
black sprinters crouched in the start position in front a white man
wearing a shirt and chinos in an office.
Above the image was a slogan which read: "Multiply computer performance
and maximize the power of your employees."
Blogs were quick to spot the connotation of a white master surveying a
group of black workers apparently bowed at his feet.
In a statement on its website, Intel said: "We made a bad mistake. I know
why and how, but that simply doesn't make it better."
It was intended that the advertisement "convey the performance
capabilities of our processors through a number of visual metaphors," Don
MacDonald, director of global marketing for the company, wrote.
"Unfortunately, this ad using African-American sprinters did not deliver
our intended message, and in fact proved to be culturally insensitive and
Gizmodo, the technology blog which spotted the ad, said of the picture:
"Lousy, barely subliminal, racist advertising, or just plain lousy
The Register, a technology news site, said in its analysis: "While the
white man's smug jubilation is apparently derived from choosing the Intel
Core 2 Duo Processor, there are some pretty sinister undertones in the
Intel said it had pulled the ad from hundreds of publications, but was
unable to stop two which had already shipped.
The California-based company said it had identified "specific steps" in
its ad reviewal process, and would rely on these, as well as "just more
common sense", to guard against a similar incident in the future.
Intel, which recently reported second quarter revenues of $8.7 billion
(£4.3 billion), is relying heavily on a new breed of 'multi-core
processors' in the war with its long term rival, AMD.
Statements Posted By Intel Executives:
We made a bad mistake. I know why and how, but that simply doesn't make it
The intent behind our ad campaign "Multiply Computing Performance and
Maximize the Power of Your Employees" was to convey the performance
capabilities of our processors through a number of visual metaphors.
Unfortunately, while we have used a visual of sprinters in the past
appropriately, this ad of using African-American sprinters did not deliver
our intended message and in fact proved to be culturally insensitive and
Upon recognizing this, I directed that the creative be destroyed and this
be immediately pulled from hundreds of planned or potential publications
worldwide. I am aware of four remaining instances which were in flight,
but we believe they have been intercepted and destroyed; we were not able
to intercept two instances that had already shipped or are in transit. In
addition, we continue to search for any remaining placements that may
still exist that we are unaware of.
We are sincerely sorry and have identified specific steps covering
heightened cultural sensitivity, our review and approval process, and just
using more common sense to ensure that this does not happen again.
—Don MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing and director of
Intel’s intent of our ad titled “Multiply Computing Performance and
Maximize the Power of Your Employees” was to convey the performance
capabilities of our processors through the visual metaphor of a sprinter.
We have used the visual of sprinters in the past successfully.
Unfortunately, our execution did not deliver our intended message and in
fact proved to be insensitive and insulting. Upon recognizing this, we
attempted to pull the ad from all publications but, unfortunately, we
failed on one last media placement.
We are sorry and are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
—Nancy Bhagat Vice President, Director of Integrated Marketing
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