On Monday, Absa felt the wrath of Twitter when a poll it ran about black tax backfired. Absa apologised for any offence caused and said it was only trying to assist its clients, but many Twitter users saw the campaign as offensive.
#BlackTax is...— Absa (@Absa) June 12, 2018
But Twitter was not impressed.
I suppose this is market research to explore opening up a "Black Tax Loan" service to get Black people even more in debt than they already are.— Princess of Nkandla (@Sisi_Sasha) June 12, 2018
Piss off, Absa. https://t.co/MJJsVmu6ZK
All the declined loan applications to start businesses in the townships.— Tendai Joe (@Tendaijoe) June 12, 2018
That is #BlackTax
— Oluwadarasimi. (@A_simple_Sfiso) June 12, 2018
The bank later apologised and said the poll tweet was supposed to include a link to a blog post where an expert on the subject was interviewed.
Sincere apologies - we understand how we have caused offence. Our poll was meant to include a link to our blog, where we interviewed an expert on the topic - we wanted to help. We failed. https://t.co/qgUvWFXgRY— Absa (@Absa) June 12, 2018
In 2017, the cosmetics company withdrew an advert for a bottle of body wash. It showed a black woman taking off a brown shirt, and morphing into a white woman.
Twitter users called the brand out for the racist implications of the ad.
Me writing an analysis of Dove's racist ad campaigns vs. me going to the store to buy Dove body bars... pic.twitter.com/LzA4yKZcTE— Ms. Versace (@versace_ms) October 26, 2017
Dove's racist ad angers people, and they can't believe it actually happened in 2017:https://t.co/nRYe6n4nK8— UberFacts (@UberFacts) January 12, 2018
Swedish clothing brand H&M received vicious backlash after a campaign advertising a new range of hoodies was labelled racist. The campaign featured a picture of a white boy and a black boy, with the black boy's hoodie marked with the words, "Coolest monkey".
If the theme was the "Jungle", why couldn't he be a Lion or a Tiger? Why was the black child picked as "The coolest MONKEY"? pic.twitter.com/SzMjnQDMDd— leratokganyago (@leratokganyago) January 8, 2018
The advert was so controversial, it sparked condemnation from politicians, and even prompted the intervention of the South African Human Rights Commission. EFF members ransacked H&M stores in protest.
Protesters trash H&M store in Johannesburg following 'racist' advert pic.twitter.com/pL9QSxOO7o— Ruptly (@Ruptly) January 14, 2018
Standard Bank tried to jump on the MakeAWomanSmileIn3Words hashtag on Twitter by promoting its credit cards. Twitter users were quick to call the bank out for its sexism, as the tweet portrayed women as money-hungry gold-diggers.
#makeawomansmilein3words— The Other Sarah Marshall (@cathjenkin) February 9, 2017
Bank somewhere else.
The social media giant reportedly lost $800 million after one of its ads was criticised by Rihanna. The ad asked users to choose whether they would rather "slap Rihanna" or "punch Chris Brown", as part of a game called "Would you rather".
The singer posted to her Instagram stories:
"You spent money to animate something at would intentionally bring shame to DV (domestic violence) victims and made a joke of it!!!"
Brown was convicted of assault after beating, choking and biting Rihanna in 2009. He received five years of probation.
"You let us down! Shame on you!": @rihanna has some strong words for @Snapchat over an advert that asked people if they would rather slap her or punch Chris Brown https://t.co/M5y4SvuOO9 pic.twitter.com/e9Ka0XGyw4
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) March 15, 2018