Coca-Cola's 'insulting' marketing campaign in Canada

Coca-Cola was forced to cancel a 2013 Canadian marketing campaign that featured randomly generated English and French words together on the inside of bottle caps.

Closure of a Coca-Cola bottle
© Photo by Tomasz Mikołajczyk on Pixabay

Blake Loates explained that her husband read the insult "You retard" on the top of his Vitaminwater bottle.

Loates said she initially thought it was a crude joke by a bottling plant employee. She found the words particularly offensive because she has a younger sister who is "developmentally disabled."

Shannon Denny, a Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada representative, said consumers should collect the bottle caps and use them to make words into funny phrases. The problem, however, was that the words were allowed for each language separately. And some words exist in another language, but sometimes have a different meaning there. For example, "retard" means "delay" in French.

Denny explained that the company had received another complaint from a consumer who had received a bottle cap with the word "douche" on it. However, she explained that this meant the French word for "shower" and not the English slang word for a person who behaves inconsiderately and arrogantly.

The Coca-Cola Company took these incidents very seriously and cancelled the promotion, as well as destroyed all used closures.