Indonesian Ad Agency Sends Us Comments About “Smelly Mexican” Foot Powder Campaign

Aug 6, 2012
12:51 PM

After we published the following image on Saturday, we sent out a tweet to the Indonesian ad agency that produced the image for clarification.

Instead of getting a public response, this morning we received two direct messages from the agency's Twitter account:

In the interest of following up and asking if we can share this information with our readers, we tweeted the agency twice publicly via Twitter because they were not following us, so we couldn't DM them. (We were following them so we can get a comment about the image.) Here is what we tweeted:

After an hour, we didn't get a reply, so we tweeted again:

As of this posting, we haven't heard from Fortune, so we decided to post what they sent us via DM. We do thank them to responding even though they are a bit unfamiliar with Twitter etiquette and how not being able to DM back someone is just not cool. We still have questions (here are just a few):

  • So the ad WAS being produced even though Fortune claims it is not in "mass production?"
  • Did the client approve this ad already? Who commissioned this image?
  • There was NO ONE on the agency side or the client side that thought this ad was racist?
  • Why did it take a tweet from us to get a response?

The fact is that someone in that agency decided that such a campaign and image were deemed acceptable, but in an age where images can be captured and shared globally, it can no longer be the case. The original campaign idea, pitched and produced for Daktarin Foot Powder, a product that lists Janssen-Cilag and/or Janssen Pharmaceuticals as the manufacturer (part of Johnson & Johnson), was beyond racist. It was racism on steroids.

We have yet to contact Janssen, but we do have questions about the source of this image and its intent. In the age of globalization and outsourcing of creative talent, the fact that a professional ad agency even thought that this concept was appealing just proves how much work still needs to get done in this world. We won't say much more about this, hoping that we actually get some answers about the image's history. In the end, it gets the #NoMames, for sure.