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 »

Rescuers race to free young girl and others from rubble of Mexico quake video audio
A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the rubble of her school stretched into a daylong vigil for Mexico, much of it broadcast across the nation as rescue workers still struggled in rain and darkness early Thursday trying to pick away unstable debris and reach her.
Updated Hurricane Maria thrashes Dominican Republic after ripping through Puerto Rico video
Hurricane Maria thrashes parts of the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and high winds as it passes near its east and north coasts early Thursday after making a direct hit on Puerto Rico, where it caused severe flooding and cut power to the island.
6th person arrested in London transit bombing
British police have arrested a sixth person in connection with last week's attack on a London underground train.
more »

Canada »

Exclusive Canada to push for new peacekeeping pledges, but yet to fulfil its own audio
Canada intends to push other countries at an upcoming peacekeeping meeting to pledge more troops and commitments to international operations — despite the Liberal government's continued reticence about where it will deploy its own promised peacekeepers.
'Safe, reliable and affordable': New bus service aims to make notorious Highway of Tears less dangerous
Two new subsidized bus routes on B.C.'s Highway 16 aim to reduce hitchhiking and provide safe, affordable transit along the notorious stretch known as the Highway of Tears, where more than a dozen women have gone missing or been murdered.
Exclusive IBM contract for failure-plagued Phoenix payroll system jumped to total $185M
The massive 1,700-page contract between the federal government and IBM to implement the troubled Phoenix federal pay system provides new insight into the fiasco, showing dozens of amendments to the deal and costs that jumped by tens of millions of dollars at a time.
more »

Politics »

Justin Trudeau to highlight Indigenous reconciliation in UN speech
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will use his speech to the world's largest gathering of diplomats to highlight one of Canada's greatest domestic challenges — seeking reconciliation with the country's Indigenous people.
Exclusive Canada to push for new peacekeeping pledges, but yet to fulfil its own audio
Canada intends to push other countries at an upcoming peacekeeping meeting to pledge more troops and commitments to international operations — despite the Liberal government's continued reticence about where it will deploy its own promised peacekeepers.
Exclusive IBM contract for failure-plagued Phoenix payroll system jumped to total $185M
The massive 1,700-page contract between the federal government and IBM to implement the troubled Phoenix federal pay system provides new insight into the fiasco, showing dozens of amendments to the deal and costs that jumped by tens of millions of dollars at a time.
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»

'This was not ok:' Alvvays singer dodges kiss after fan jumps onstage
Alvvways frontwoman Molly Rankin was left stunned during a recent show when a male fan bolted onto the stage and attempted to kiss her.
As It Happens Artist of $18K bullet-riddled Bieber painting stolen at TIFF says thief called to confess
Toronto artist Viktor Mitic says he was contacted by the thief who stole his bullet-riddled portrait of Justin Bieber from a Toronto gallery, supposedly on a drunken dare.
She'll be back: Linda Hamilton returning to Terminator franchise
Linda Hamilton is returning to the Terminator franchise for the first time since 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
more »

Technology & Science »

Spacecraft on its way to asteroid will slingshot past Earth on Friday
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft — on a return mission to the far-off asteroid Bennu — will pass by Earth on Friday, and you're invited to wave as it goes by.
New Google buys big piece of HTC in billion-dollar bet on devices
Google is biting off a big piece of device manufacturer HTC for $1.1 billion US to expand its efforts to build phones, speakers and other gadgets equipped with its arsenal of digital services.
Medieval monks buried a porpoise and archaeologists have no idea why
The peculiar discovery has experts in Guernsey searching different theories.
more »

Money »

Analysis Yellen triggers plan to cut stimulus and avoid disaster: Don Pittis
The world's had enough disasters. The powerful U.S. central banker is anxious not to create one of her own.
National Bank IT error exposed customer contact information online
Hundreds of National Bank customers may have had their personal contact information and date of birth exposed online to other customers, the bank confirmed to CBC Toronto.
Canada running to keep up with fast-moving developments in self-driving car technology video
Calling it a disruptive technology with huge potential, Canada's transport minister says when it comes to self-driving cars Canada is doing its best to try and keep up with the pace of innovation.
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]
De Grasse, relay team relishing chance to slow down in off-season
Canada's men's sprint story at last month's world track and field championships began with Andre De Grasse injured and ended with the 4x100-metre relay team finishing sixth. Now, heading into a year with no Olympics or world championships, Canada's fastest men are taking a break and slowing down.
Video Hip Check: It was a rough night for rookie Jonas Siegenthaler video
After hopping the wrong bench, the Capitals prospect broke his stick leading to a Montreal goal
What's next for Toronto Wolfpack after 'outstanding' debut? video
The Toronto Wolfpack's debut season ended with a promotion to the second tier of English rugby league. But what comes next after a year of lopsided scores, transatlantic road trips and fans in wolf onesies?
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »