The video: A new ad for Duncan Hines' "Amazing Glazes" promises to transform regular confections into "hip-hop cupcakes." In the spot, a woman begins to pour chocolate glaze on "animated vanilla cupcakes," which in turn "begin to sing and beatbox" when the glaze hits them. The problem is that to many observers, "it looks a lot like the cupcakes are wearing blackface." Responding to outrage online, the company has yanked the commercial off YouTube. Is the ad really tasteless?
The reaction: Rather than "striking a chord with urban bakers, the video just seems to be pissing them off," says Maddie Oatman at Mother Jones. Perhaps Duncan Hines "might have saved itself the outrage" if it hadn't tried to market the ad as being hip-hop based. The music certainly doesn't sound like hip-hop. Whether the ad is offensive or not, this isn't the first time the commercial's director, Josh Binder, "has been criticized for creating questionable advertising," says Paula Forbes at Eater. In years past, he has "filmed an ad for Western wear that features a cowboy lassoing up two ladies, and another that spoofs samurai movies." Watch the Duncan Hines cupcake ad:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
Subscribe to the Week