Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Microsoft in hot water over photoshopped ad

By Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca.

Software giant Microsoft has apologized after it was discovered that an ad on Microsoft's Polish business unit had altered a photo of a group of three people sitting at a boardroom table, changing the race of one of the people from black to white.

The ad featured two men, one Asian and one black, and one white woman seated at a conference table. In the Polish version of the ad, the black man's head was replaced by a white man's head, though the colour of his hands remained unchanged.

"We are looking into the details of this situation," Microsoft spokesperson Lou Gellos said in a statement Tuesday. "We apologize and are in the process of pulling down the image."

Bloggers have criticized the ad, with some arguing Poland's ethnic homogeneity might have played a role in the change. The gaffe has also inspired parodies on technology blogs such as Gizmodo and TechCrunch.

These days technology and marketing experts say the online world is moving towards more personal advertisements, focused on the specific tastes, geographic location and demographics of the user. But somehow, though, I don't think this ad is what they had in mind.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Matt Innes

I'm having a hard time seeing what the fuss is about.

A little thought experiment: If Microsoft had created a whole new ad with all white models for the Polish market, would that have been ok? I just had a look at the Microsoft Hong Kong website and all the people in the pictures are Asian. Is that ok?

Are we objecting to the fact that they have tailored their advertising to their market, or just the fact that they've done it cheaply and semi-incompetently?

Posted August 26, 2009 12:59 PM

Bill

Any publicity is good publicity.

Posted August 27, 2009 10:59 AM

Vince

Canada

So what's new?

Microsoft has been copying Apple for years. This is just another form of their plagiarism.

Posted August 27, 2009 03:25 PM

Dave D

GTA

That's nothing, they submitted a fake video in _court_ during their antitrust trial.

In this case they are obviously working on the quota system: one black, one white, one Asian, at least one man, at least one woman. The quota in Poland may be different than that in North America.

Posted August 27, 2009 07:20 PM

Andrew

People are way to jumpy latley..... the ad was just being tailored to the target demographic..... kinda funny that they forgot to change his hands in fact....

Posted August 28, 2009 09:46 AM

Mike

Edmonton

Microsoft is not in "hot water" and has nothing to apologise for. One of the toughest PR tasks faced by multinational enterprises is "tuning in" promotional campaigns to the cultural and yes, racial, nuances of differing national markets so as to not convey too much of a "foreign head office" influence. Microsoft's Polish subsidiary was obviously attempting something along those lines. I won't say that this particular effort was as well thought out and executed as it might have been, but it hardly qualifies as fodder for sensational headlines.

Posted August 28, 2009 06:22 PM

Steve

They forgot to photoshop the white Mac book out of the picture.

Posted August 30, 2009 11:39 PM

GDUB

HK

@Matt Innes

"We" are objecting to the cheapness and incompetence. I'm not sure how you distinguish between "semi-incompetence" and "full-on incompetence". Did they use Asian models for that Hong Kong ad you saw? Or did they just paste Asian heads on top of bodies with tanned hands?

There's something insulting about cutting out someone's face or head, don't you think?

Posted August 31, 2009 04:14 AM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

British lawmakers hit by 'sustained' cyber attack
Britain's Parliament was hit by a "sustained and determined" cyber attack on Saturday designed to identify weak email passwords, just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of the country's health service.
U.K. finds 34 high-rise apartment buildings with unsafe siding video
Britain's fire-safety crisis expanded substantially Saturday as authorities said 34 high-rise apartment blocks across the country had cladding that failed fire safety tests.
Arab states don't seek 'regime change' in Qatar, says UAE official
A top United Arab Emirates official said Saturday the Arab countries isolating Qatar do not seek to force out the country's leadership over allegations it supports extremist ideology but are willing to cut ties altogether if it does not agree to their demands.
more »

Canada »

'It's about time to build a road to Churchill': Engineer says it's possible
After flood damage forced the closure of the only land link to Churchill, Man. β€” a railway from Gillam β€” a civil engineer says it's time to reconsider building a permanent road linking the northern community to the south.
'Unprecedented event': 6 North Atlantic right whales found dead in June video
Since June 7, six North Atlantic right whales have been found dead, floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is about one per cent of the population of the endangered species.
LCBO strike negotiations to stay corked under 'media blackout'
Negotiations between the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the union representing its workers will remain a secret ahead of a possible strike that could begin as early as Monday.
more »

Politics »

'Zero chance' of a cabinet shuffle this summer, senior official says
As cabinet ministers head back to their ridings this summer, a senior government official says they can be secure in the knowledge that they won't be shuffled out of their job before Parliament resumes sitting this fall.
RCMP's structure could change under new commissioner, says Ralph Goodale
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the looming retirement of RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is as good a time as any to consider rejigging the governance of the force, including a recommendation to set up a civilian oversight body.
Opinion Free trade between provinces? That would be anarchy: Neil Macdonald video
The Gerard Comeau case, which will be heard at the Supreme Court, could change everything. It depends on how willing the high justices are to upend our entrenched statism.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Writer sues Tupak Shakur biopic for copyright infringement
Kevin Powell is suing the filmmakers behind All Eyez on Me, arguing the Tupac Shakur biopic pulls information from a series of articles he wrote about the late rapper in the 1990s.
Bradley Cooper makes surprise appearance on Glastonbury Festival stage
Actor Bradley Cooper surprised fans by taking the stage at the Glastonbury Festival Friday, since he wasn't exactly part of the lineup.
Schwarzenegger, Macron riff on Trump's campaign slogan in selfie video
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron are showing their commitment to fighting climate change β€” and their condemnation of U.S. President Donald Trump β€”in a not-so-subtle selfie video.
more »

Technology & Science »

Blog It's worth the drive to totality: perspectives from an eclipse chaser: Bob McDonald
A veteran eclipse chaser gives a preview of the solar eclipse that will be visible in the U.S. in August.
Want to do business in Russia? Be ready to hand over your source code
Authorities are asking Western tech companies to allow them to review source code for security products such as firewalls and anti-virus applications before they can be sold.
Research into exoskeleton walking devices big leap forward for human-robot interactions video
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. have developed a new system for human assistance with robotic devices known as exoskeletons that could have widespread impact on the way human performance is enhanced by devices of many kinds.
more »

Money »

Forget the poop scooping: who will pay the bills for your pet? video
Pets are expensive, but few of us pay enough attention to the money we'll spend by adding a furry addition to the family. Here are 6 ways to cut down on pet costs.
'Eventually, many will run out': How an LCBO strike could impact restaurants and bars
A long drawn-out strike by liquor store workers could have a significant impact on Ontario's restaurants, wine importers, bars and consumers. But it could offer a boon to local wineries.
Canadians owe more than $1.7T, up 7% in past year, Equifax says
Canadians' appetite for debt is as insatiable as it has ever been, a new report from credit monitoring firm Equifax says.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Live Watch the Toronto Wolfpack vs. Hunslet RLFC video
Watch as the Toronto Wolfpack look to keep their undefeated streak alive in Kingstone Press League 1 action on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. ET when they take on Hunslet RLFC.
Analysis NHL draft partially upstaged by torrent of trades
On Friday morning, each of the 31 general managers and their trusted hockey departments rose early for the big NHL draft weekend in Chicago. By the time the first day was over, there was still plenty to process after several big names traded sweaters.
Recap Canada ties U.S. in 1st leg of Rugby World Cup qualifier
Canada squandered a first-half lead but reeled off 10 late points to tie the U.S. Eagles 28-28 on Saturday in the first leg of their Rugby World Cup qualifier.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »