Coca-Cola has ended and apologized for a Sprite ad campaign in Ireland that was widely panned as sexist and offensive.
The “Brutally Honest” campaign was intended to appeal a young, male audience with a series of #BrutallyRefreshing lines like “You’re not popular, you’re easy,” “A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2,” and “She’s seen more ceilings than Michelanglo,” (which, in addition to being gross, doesn’t even make sense since Michelangelo spent four years staring at one ceiling – the Sistine Chapel).
The RTE 2FM presenter and author Louise McSharry was the first to draw attention to the BrutallyRefreshing digital campaign, when it featured as a homepage takeover on Joe.ie, the Irish men’s news and entertainment site.
SERIOUSLY with this takeover in 2016? pic.twitter.com/q5TBk5AmdL— Louise McSharry (@louisemcsharry) August 2, 2016
Joe.ie editor Paddy McKenna quickly apologized and the ads were removed.
Other versions of the ads were spotted around Ireland, with one big banner in Galway reading “Eyre Square… The first stop on your walk of shame.”
The backlash was swift and intense, with many people wondering on Twitter how Coca-Cola could possibly have thought the campaign was a good idea.
Sprite: "We'd like to aim our product at a misogynistic audience."August 3, 2016
Coca-Cola quickly pulled the campaign and issued an apology. A spokeswoman said:
"We're sorry for any offense caused by the #BrutallyRefreshing Sprite campaign in Ireland, which was intended to provide an edgy but humorous take on a range of situations.
"Since its introduction in Ireland, Sprite has been associated with individuality and self-expression and we have always been committed to ensuring we deliver the highest standard of advertising.
"We recognize that on this particular occasion the content did not meet this standard and we apologize. The campaign has now come to an end and the advert in question will not appear again."