In a completely unrelated post, 8Asian readers have been weighing in on the SalesGenie.com ads which aired during yesterday’s Super Bowl. As such, I thought I should give the topic its own post.
The basic consensus seems to be that two of the cartoon ads by SalesGenie were offensive to Asians.
The first one, which aired during the First Quarter, is called “The Worst Salesman” and features a sales boss yelling at his sales employee Ramesh (presumably of South Asian descent) for not generating enough sales. Ramesh, in an “Indian” (South Asian-type) accent, mentions that he has seven kids, and he goes to the SalesGenie website and generates 100 new leads, makes a bunch of sales, makes Employee of the Year and accepts his award from him boss with his wife and seven kids standing beside him.
Here’s the ad, if you’d like to watch it for yourself:
The second ad, called “Peddling Pandas,” aired during the second quarter. The cartoon features a pair of pandas, who own Ling Ling’s Bamboo Furniture Shack. The signage for the store is in a nice typical “chopstick” style font and the pandas speak with bad “Chinese” accents. They need help selling their bamboo furniture, so they call a panda sales genie for help. The sales genie panda has no such Asian accent, by the way. The results are so wonderful that six months later, the pair of pandas now run Ling Ling’s Bamboo Furniture EMPORIUM and the owners can take their convertible and their pair of baby pandas to the see the bears at the zoo.
So the question I had was WHAT AD AGENCY WROTE THIS CRAP!?
The answer is: NO AGENCY DID.
According to an article published in late December 2007, “Salesgenie.com Ready to Reclaim Crown as Super Bowl’s ‘Worst Ad’ Champion” the copywriter and creator of the concepts for these ads were none other than Vinod (Vin) Gupta, the founder of SalesGenie.
For the record, Mr. Gupta is of Indian descent, hailing from Uttar Pradesh.
So for everyone who is up in arms and asking “Who could be this insensitive and racist?”
The answer is: one of our own is responsible for this.
I don’t even know where to begin my personal commentary on these ads, so I’ll just say this racist or not, these ads are definitely stupid.
I guess some people will do anything to make a sale.
And, as the angryasianman says…
The worst part is, the company was apparently trying to make these commercials the worst Super Bowl ads possible: Salesgenie.com Ready to Reclaim Crown as Super Bowl’s ‘Worst Ad’ Champion. They succeeded. And here’s the sad truth: any sort of controversy these ads stir up will likely just give more publicity to a no-name company that nobody ever gave a crap about in the first place. We can’t win.
I want to hear what you have to say on this…
UPDATE on 2/5/08: OCA disappointed with negative imagery in Super Bowl ads