In Thailand, light skin is associated with high social status, while darker skin is associated with lower-class status, according to Reuters.
Earlier this year, Seoul Secret, a beauty company in Thailand, posted an online video ad for a skin-whitening pill. In the video, a Thai actress appeared in blackface. As if that weren’t outrageous enough, the video also proclaimed, “You just need to be white to win.”
Cue the international outrage via social media and the press, which forced Seoul Secret to issue an apology and pull the video and all related ads. Let this serve as a social 101 lesson for brands: While you may think you’re talking to a specific geographic audience, the internet is global.