Bata, a popular shoe brand in Malaysia found itself in hot water when Facebook user Sanjay Naidu shared his displeasure over the brand’s latest in-store promotional advertisement on social media.
In his Facebook post, Sanjay wrote that on Saturday his friend shared with him the brand’s latest promotional advert which she saw at Bata’s store in KLCC. Pictured in the ad was Bata’s iconic white shoes with the copy, ‘Shoes for Indian children’.
Feeling that the advertisement was quite racist Sanjay contacted Bata’s KLCC outlet, however, the staff could not provide an adequate response asking him to contact Bata’s headquarter for an explanation.
Sanjay’s post which had garnered over 180 shares and over 34 comments to date had many netizens complaining that the ad was racist. “Wait what does it even mean?? Means catered for kids from Indian schools?? Or Indian kids.. Or Indian feet?? Like any of those has any difference” Facebook user Yamunah Samynathan Rubesh commented.
One Facebook user by the name of Apple Lonzki said the advertisement is ‘pure racism’.
Sanjey did not just leave it at that, upon doing a bit of research on Bata website he understood the reasoning behind the shoe company’s ad.
“Real Story is this: It's on their website about BATA story. Created for school children in India in 1936 ‘Originally created for Indian school children, the pinstriped sneaker with the distinctive rubber toe guard became one of the best-selling shoes of all time – and is still sold around the world,” Sanjay wrote in his follow-up post on Facebook. Being a creative director himself, he felt that the advertisement should have worded differently to avoid confusion.
A quick check on Bata Malaysia’s official Facebook page showed that the company had yet to address the issue and queries by users on the page had yet to be answered. Bata Malaysia has yet to respond to MARKETING’s follow up on the ad.