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August 16, 2022



Czech racists hated Vodafone Christmas ad featuring non-white children, the company objects to their online comments

26.12.2020 10:44
A still from the Vodafone Christmas advertising campaign in 2020 in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Vodafone)
A still from the Vodafone Christmas advertising campaign in 2020 in the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Vodafone)

Vodafone is thoroughly rejecting the comments of hatred and racism that began appearing on Czech social media in response to the company's advertising campaign for Christmas featuring two brothers, Sam and Max Budiman, whose father was Indonesian and whose mother is white - a fact that is a big problem for some Czech social media users. "A couple of days ago we launched our Christmas advertisements, and unfortunately they have been met on social media with hateful and vulgar reactions to the family appearing in them," General Director of Vodafone Petr Dvořák tweeted in a video at the close of November.

"We cast a family who may not be absolutely typical for the campaign, their father is Indonesian, and unfortunately he is no longer alive. However, this is a family who lives here with us [in the Czech Republic]," Dvořák said in the message.

"For us as a company, it's terribly important that we bring people together. We do so irrespective of their opinions, skin color, sexual orientation, sex, or the culture they come from," the General Director of the mobile phone services company said.

"Let's value respect and love, and let's combat hatred," Dvořák said in the video. "We thank all those who see things this same way."

The brothers had also been featured in an August ad campaign, but for the Christmas campaign they were joined by their mother Michaela, who is a professor of the Indonesian language and a translator, and the entire ad concept was based on the idea of "The real Christmas comes after Christmas," which is dramatized by the authentic testimony of the family. Hateful comments on social media in reaction to protagonists in ads who are not white are nothing new on the Czech and Slovak Internet, though. 

In 2017 the target of such an online hate attack was a dark-skinned Senegalese model featured in advertising fliers released by Lidl. That same year an advertising campaign by a Slovak firm for sportswear that also featured a dark-skinned man sparked hateful comments on social media as well. 

ryz, translation by Gwendolyn Albert
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