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Controversy over Racist Advertising
Wednesday, 26 April 2000 00:00
Motion for the Board of Advertising

Violation of the Code of Advertising
To: RPR (Board of Advertising), Skretova st. 6, Praha 2 (sent by mail)
Copy to: Eclipse printing house, Strategie Magazine

Dear Sirs,
I believe that you have launched an investigation out of your own initiative into the advertising of the Eclipse printing house, published in the 9-th. issue of Strategie magazine on page 5, with greater zeal than in the case of the billboards with the fox. If this is not the case, here is my motion:
In my opinion, the advertising violates the articles of Chapter II, Article 4.4. The advertising obviously promotes the racist view that criminals are coloured, that is, that coloured people are all criminals. It thus bluntly and undoubtedly offends my racial feelings.
Yours sincerely
MUDr. Miroslav Patek
Kurcatovova 323
109 00 Praha 10

Statement of Eclipse

Dear Sir,
I consider your allegations to be totally unfounded. Our advertising campaign does not feature criminals, but untrustworthy persons. It is not in the least bit racist. You may have seen our first advert, where a blue-eyed blonde woman appeared. In 12 images, we shall gradually present 12 "professions" considered untrustworthy, but at the same time not breaking the law. I do not know what colour of skin the next persons featured in our adverts will have, and to be honest, I do not care about it. It is not the colour of the skin that is of importance, but the profession, the occupation of the person featured.
If you view a dark watch vendor as an attack on all people with dark colour of skin, I do not understand why you did not view our first advert as an attack against people with pink faces wearing a make-up.
It is your attitude that is racist, not our advertising. If your are not able to view a dark skinned model simply as a human being, but you immediately pigeon-hole him into a certain group, it is discriminatory and offensive. I fully agree with you, that any form of discrimination is shameful. If we carefully selected the people featured in our adverts from white skinned people, it would be a racist attitude. I do not in any way intend to restrict the advertising agency in its selection of models by colour of skin, because it is not important. I thank you for your comments, although I cannot agree with them.

Yours sincerely
Alena Netusilova
Eclipse a.s.

Finding of the Committee for Arbitration of the Board of Advertising

The campaign of Eclipse is not based on racism
On 16th of March, the Committee for Arbitration of the Board of Advertising (RPR) rejected the complaint of a private party against the advertising campaign of Eclipse, for its alleged racist connotations. The RPR accepted the statement of the sponsor of the campaign and of the author of the campaign, advertising agency Young & Rubicam, which explained the concept of the advertising. The multinational image advertising campaign of Eclipse, presenting the company as stable and reliable, runs in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and in Russia. A high number of print agents and middlemen operate in these markets, who do not meet their obligations against producers, and therefore are unable to offer quality and reliable service. "The creative department of the agency prepared twelve visual adverts with images, that present untrustworthy people by a certain activity or occupation. The concrete technology and employee of the company is then presented as an alternative and a contrast, that is stable and reliable", stated Y & R (Strategie 12/2000).