Though the advertisement depicting a black model raised uproar on the social networks, with many people leaving racist comments, nobody has returned the clothes. Conversely, hundreds of people supported the ad, the Sme daily reported.
Following the publication of an advertisement presenting Dennis Johansen of African heritage, the company Nebbia Žilina, which sells fitness clothes, established the email firstname.lastname@example.org (som rasista means "I am a racist") to allow customers to return the goods based on racist sentiments.
Less than 10 people have sent a message to that email to acquire information about returning the clothes, but none of the comments were racist, said CEO of the company Martin Pecko. In the end, nobody has returned the goods.
“The small number of people who considered returning the clothes, is proof that the situation is not as bad as it could be,” Pecko added, as quoted by Sme.
It is not usual for Slovak ads to depict black models, admits advertisement expert Simona Bubánová.
“They usually depict the target group or somebody the target group can identify with,” she told Sme.
This, however, does not mean companies try to avoid such a situation. Foreign companies usually use models of various races, she added.
Companies are becoming more aware of their social corporate responsibility and insist on the fundamental statements regarding tolerance and human rights, advertisement expert Róbert Slovák told Sme. Some examples are offered by Lego or Ikea, which deliberately prepare campaigns to support tolerance.
"An increasing number of brands are aware of their corporate responsibility and try to become an example,” Slovák said, as quoted by Sme.
On the other hand, observers are not surprised by the negative responses to the ad depicting a black athlete. The attitude that any difference should be rejected has made it to the mainstream also in politics, particularly following the refugee crisis, sociologist Silvia Porubänová commented for Sme.