Bayo's "What's Your Mix" advertisement
So, Bayo has issued an official apology on their Facebook page about their controversial "What's Your Mix" campaign that had netizens up in arms over the accompanying manifesto that was perceived to be racist.
In part, the manifesto read: "Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class. We always have that fighting chance to make it in the world arena of almost all aspects."
In addition to being badly written, it spawned online fury.
On the evening of June 7, Bayo said sorry, expressing their regret "to those who have been offended or felt discriminated against." The statement also said, "We believe that being a Filipino will always make you 100% beautiful. It is unfortunate that this message got lost along the way."
But, in spite of the apology and reportedly pulling down their billboards, Bayo must be popping open champagne right now because you couldn't pay for this kind of publicity.
Especially after the campaign turned into a meme. While one Bayo ad showed actress Jasmine Curtis Smith with the headline "50% Australian and 50% Filipino," crowdsourced versions began popping up. The headline for a photo of American Idol winner Phillip Phillips read: "50% singular, 50% plural." One on diminutive actress Mahal (or was it Mura?) simply read: "50%."
A grain of truth in the campaign
Even if the kind of interest the campaign sparked was inadvertent, objectives such as catching the public's attention and increasing awareness of the brand have been achieved.
Was it a form of adverse advertising? Yes, it seems the campaign went against commonly accepted beliefs and norms about ethnicity. Even the copy explaining the campaign was awful.
But wasn't there a grain of truth in the campaign? Aren't we guilty of the assertion Bayo was pushing? Don't we obsesses over "mixed" parentage, especially if the mix is Western, so that mestizos and mestizas have the edge in everything—from getting jobs to landing lead roles in primetime TV dramas to yes, appearing in fashion ads?
Were we mad only because the grammar was bad?
Maybe Bayo simply held a mirror to our face…and we went into a hissy fit over what stared back at us. Meaning, we howled only because the campaign was executed awkwardly, amateurishly even, given the bigness of the brand.
Should Bayo take lessons from the in-your-face ads of Benetton?
But now that that little tempest is on its way to running its course, the question is: when you head to the mall this weekend, will you check out the Bayo store? Will the furor continue to weigh on your mind?
Or will you say, "Hmmm…that dress looks good on me"?
Editor's note: The views on this blog do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed.