Belo Men ads criticized for racist message

Posted at 07/01/2012 4:35 PM | Updated as of 07/02/2012 4:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- When will they ever learn?

This is what netizens are asking after a new advertising campaign is drawing flak for supposedly "racist" undertones.

Belo Men, a line of skin whitening products for men, recently unveiled a series of advertisements, including one which has the caption "10% lighter. 100% more sosyal," with a young man throwing the keys to his car to a valet.

The other executions are: "10% lighter. 100% approved," with an elderly man showing off his future son-in-law to his golf buddies; and "10% lighter. 100% more numbers," with a guy surrounded by three sexy girls, holding their cellphones.

Facebook users posted negative comments about the ads on Belo Men's page on the popular social networking site.

"The color of your skin has nothing to do with whether you'll make a good husband or not," Juancho Torrevillas said of the "100% approved" exection.

"Tasteless! Haven't we learned anything from Bayo? And what does that say about your image model, Derek Ramsay? Thoughtless!" wrote Benedict Bernabe on Facebook.

Barnabe also tweeted Belo Medical Group's Cristalle Henares, daughter of celebrity doctor Vicki Belo, about the ad. "The Belo Men ad going around in FB is kinda tasteless. Haven't we learned anything from the Bayo ad yet?"

Bernabe was referring to Bayo's much-maligned "What's your mix" campaign, which has since been discontinued after it was heavily criticized.

A billboard by Executive Optical along EDSA, showing a woman being embraced by a dark-skinned man, was also hit by netizens for being racist.

'Social climber'

"Anong nangyayari sa advertising industry? Bakit ang daming distasteful campaigns nowadays tulad ng sa Bayo, Executive Optical, at Belo Men?" commented Jeff Crisostomo ‏on Twitter.

In the case of Belo Men, it was the "100% sosyal" execution that drew the most number of negative comments on Belo Men's Facebook page.

"So 'pag maputi mukha nang mayaman??? Di ba pwedeng may sakit sa balat muna?" Garrey Garduque commented.

"Sorry, this is too social-climber-ish," said Eric Florentino.

"Thanks for legitimizing the idea that skin color is tied to class standing," tweeted Ceej T.

Morris Duldulao asked, "Why does our society have a bias with fair skin? To the extent that whitening product commercials are shouting 'MAITIM KA ANG PANGIT MO!' Jeez! Boycott! Boycott!"

"10% lighter, 100 more sosyal? 100% approved? More like 100% insecure. I am offended by these Belo Men ads. I am dark-skinned and proud," said Anjo David on Twitter.

The controversy regarding the Belo Men ads erupted just hours before the Belo Men Twitter party later on Sunday.

On Twitter, Belo Men and its followers said tickets to the FHM 100 Sexiest party will be given out during the event.

Last March, FHM was also embroiled in a controversy with its cover of actress Bela Padilla, which was also criticized for being included in a "racist" cover.