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Schweppes pulls ad campaign after flu crack falls flat

May 22, 2009 | 11:06 am

Schweppes mexican

Controversial ad campaigns about Mexico seem to keep popping up. 

This time, it was a campaign running in the UK from Coca-Cola Schweppes. The ad, which ran for just one day on May 15 in The Times (of London) newspapers, was quickly withdrawn after complaints from Mexico's embassy in London.

The soft drinks' advertising agency Mother London created a number of illustrations as part of a series of ads called "Experience Matters." 
The image in question featured an illustration of a man wearing a huge Mexican sombrero on London's Underground subway system, with a box of tissues by his side. 

The ad was intended to be a humorous take on the H1N1 influenza strain that was first detected in Mexico and has now spread to a number of countries, including the United Kingdom. According to the World Health Organization, the UK has reported 112 cases but no deaths from the virus.

A statement from Coca-Cola Great Britain, sent to us via email, said: "The essence of the Schweppes 'Experience Matters' campaign is celebrating the very British tradition of satire. The cartoons are designed to bring a smile to an otherwise gloomy news agenda and reflect topical issues in the news. It is not our intention to offend however, and following discussions with the Mexican Embassy in London, we took the decision to remove the advert immediately."   

Other controversial ad campaigns concerning Mexico recently have included a Burger King promotion and Absolut's advertising last year.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City