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Vodka ad offends Taiwan

Smirnoff adverts hit a raw note among Taiwan's business community
Smirnoff adverts hit a raw note among Taiwan's business community

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Diageo external link

LONDON, England -- A drinks giant has apologised to Taiwan after a light-hearted advertising campaign for Smirnoff vodka backfired.

Officials from Taiwan described the UK poster campaign, which poked fun at Taiwan's reputation for supplying cheap goods, as insulting and discriminatory.

Below an image of an unwrapped gift, the caption read: "Warning. This gift will break down on Christmas morning. Replacement parts are available from service centre Box No.260 Taiwan. Allow 365 working days for delivery."

The advertisement first went up on the London Underground on December 16, and Diageo started to remove them on December 19 after receiving the complaints.

Weili Yang, spokesman for the Taiwan Embassy in London, told the Press Association: "Many Taiwanese businessmen were very angry at the discriminating message in the advert.

"The message was posted back to Taiwanese media and government and it led to great concern back in Taiwan because it insults our products."

Diageo workers in Taiwan also alerted their British headquarters to the controversy and the company published newspaper adverts in Taiwan to apologise.

A company spokesman said: "This advertisement should not have been cleared. Immediate measures will be put in place so that something like this never happens again."

Taiwan is a big market for Johnny Walker and J&B whiskey, both of which come under the Diageo umbrella.

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