MillerCoors pulls ‘Emborícuate’ ads
“In a joint decision with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, we have decided to voluntarily discontinue the ‘Emborícuate’ Coors Light Puerto Rican Day Parade advertising campaign,” the company said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
The Coors Light posters and banners had been hung at bus stops, subway stations and other venues around New York City in anticipation of the upcoming Puerto Rican Day Parade in the Big Apple, of which MillerCoors is a sponsor.
Some ads show large bottles of beer with the slogan “Emboricuate,” Spanish for “Become Puerto Rican.” Another shows a man with a Puerto Rico-flag shirt leading a parade of followers, with the term and the Coors Light logo prominently displayed.
The made up word, which echoes the real word “emborrachate,” which means “get drunk,” has brewed up some negative reaction among residents in New York and Puerto Rico.
The ads mention the June 12 parade in Manhattan in small print.
“That is really wrong. I can’t believe that they would allow that or even put that on there like that. That doesn’t look right at all,” Bronx resident Eva De La Cruz told PIX11 in New York.
“I was looking at that sign and Boricua means a breed of people,I don’t think that drinking represents our culture that way, I think that is not good advertisement,” David Madera told the station.
A Puerto Rican man sitting on the steps of the Bronx Courthouse drinking a Pepsi, who would only identify himself as Juan, added: “That is like saying that us Puerto Ricans, that, ‘Hey we just get drunk!’. . . it’s not like that you know.”
Island government officials also criticized the campaign.
“Though the company may have had the best intentions, when it comes to defending [the campaign], either through publicity or politically, it will lose out,” Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock said in a NotiCel.com report.
Earlier in the day, MillerCoors defended its marketing, saying it has a “strong track record of responsible advertising and marketing.”
“We would never produce advertising that suggests, encourages or endorses over-consumption of our products,” MillerCoors spokeswoman Karina Diehl said before the decision was made to scrap the campaign. “‘Emborícuate’ is used in our advertising to celebrate Puerto Rican culture at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, even if you are not Puerto Rican.”
MillerCoors said it will donate $75,000 in scholarships to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Foundation.
MillerCoors Puerto Rico, meanwhile, issued a statement early in the day distancing itself from the campaign.
“We deeply regret the situation caused by this campaign in the U.S. tied to the Puerto Rican Day Parade,” said MillerCoors Puerto Rico Vice President & General Manager Javier Soler. “This campaign was not produced in Puerto Rico and is not reflective at all of the communication we have maintained with our local consumers.”
“Emboricuate” has been used in promoting the parade in previous years to evoke Puerto Rican “pride” and “spirit,” MillerCoors Puerto Rico said.
The statement said MillerCoors ad campaigns never suggest or promote excessive consumption of its products.
“That goes against accepted publicity practices in the industry and business marketing standards,” the statement said.