The Alliance for Food Health, a consumer rights and health group, has urged the Mexican government to ban a new Coca-Cola commercial that was shot in the southern state of Oaxaca. The group has claimed that the ad is "an attack on the dignity of indigenous people" and "contributes to their deteriorating health".
The commercial shows young white people driving to a location carrying coolers filled with the soft drink. "It's outrageous for the indigenous," said Diana Turner, a public relations representative for Consumer Power, a member of the Alliance of Food Health. The alliance has asked the National Council to Prevent Discrimination and pull down the advertisement that was created for the "Open Your Heart" holiday campaign by Coca-Cola Mexico.
"This Christmas a group of young people decided to give something very special to the indigenous community of Totontepec (Villa) de Morelos in Oaxaca. You, too, open your heart," was mentioned in the advertisement. Coca-Cola said the commercial was intended to "break down prejudice and share".
The ad that could be viewed on the soft drink major's YouTube channel was removed on 1 December, but can be viewed on other sites. The company has also come under fire on Twitter, under the hashtag #abretucorazon (open your heart).
One tweet read: "When a company as big as Coco-Cola is saying #AbreTuCorazon by giving Coco-Cola to indigenous people. What they are really doing is using them." Another said: "Coca-Cola's Mexican advert – colonial in implication, racist against indigenous ppl #AbreTuCorazon."
The consumption of sugary drinks is high in Mexico. The rate of obesity and diabetes among the indigenous people is also high, according to reports.