Seen and noted: Schweppes’ Experience Matters

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Coca Cola Schweppes released this ad this month in The Times, UK and had to withdraw it soon. The reason: the Mexican embassy objected to it.

Schweppes Mexican.jpg

Via The Inspiration Room Daily.

According to Coca-Cola, “The essence of the Schweppes ‘Experience Matters’ campaign is celebrating the very British tradition of satire. The cartoons are designed to bring a smile to an otherwise gloomy news agenda and reflect topical issues in the news”. I guess tongue-in-cheek British humour, intended to be a funny take on the Swine Flu controversy, fell flat. Pity, really. I found the ‘Experience Matters’ campaign intriguing and typically British. A heritage brand, it can afford to mask even the brand name in the ads.


The cartoons are inspired by William Hogarth, a satirical cartoonist whose social commentary was influential in the Great Britain in the 1700s. As with Grey and their campaign for Amnesty International, any campaign that is a social commentary on things around us, albeit in a lighter vein, runs the risk of facing heat.

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  1. This is totally offensive for mexicans. In a lot of countries are discriminating us, and this ads encourage that idea. The image of a mexican person is ridiculous, nobody in Mexico wear that kind of hats and that discriminative stuff. That only shows that the people of other countries like UK dont really know mexicans.

  2. I guess UK doesn´t have a real idea about mexico and mexicans.. too bad, because if you talk about something that you ignore, you look like a stupid person

    • María Fernanda Manzano Reply

      I’m mexican and lived the past 2 years in UK, returned a few weeks before the pandemia started.
      And believe me, most part of the english population doesn’t know anything about nothing outside their borders, with great effort gets involved in something else than collect their allowances…
      The remark you made is quite true, but is not only you “look”, I guess you “are” a stupid person talking about something you don’t know about… “shame of those who has no humility to learn from others”…
      But don’t get angry with the people, is the COMPANY who made the mistake, a huge marketing mistake, now is our chance as customers to rise our voice and make them feel our power…

  3. erika, chape, Halina – thanks for the comment. I guess Schweppes realized the mistake and pulled the ad soon. But the damage had been done. Stereotypes are everywhere. In India, where are so many different cultures & languages every community stereotypes the other. I understand how hurt it makes you feel.

    • In my opinion, this fact just shows the level of education of UK people. They don’t know how it affects the economy of the country of a health issue that concerns all the world. They should feel shame of this.

  4. How dare publishing this??? I already sent a copy to the Mexican Tourism Board, so they send it to the Mexican Embassy here in London.
    ?????Use satire with British products!

    Boicot coca cola and it’s products!!


  5. That’s the best way to teach the marketing Gaby, just stopping the consumption of the products, let’s use our mexican way also to demand respect to our culture.

  6. I strongly encourage Coca Cola to make a public apology about this ridiculous advertisement. How would you, British people, had felt if mexicans had made jokes about Lady Di and her affairs, or about The Beattles and their trouble with drugs??

    You, British people, ain’t better than any other person in the world and that’s your huge problem, you think you’re better, but you’re as unperfect as anyone else. Show some of your “special manners” and respect mexicans!

  7. Gilberto Peña Reply


    I’m Mexican, and I find this Advertising very rude and discriminatory for all Mexican people. This Advertising has been a scandal here in Mexico. For your information Mexico takes the first place in Coca Cola sales around the globe. For this matter, Mexican people around the country have started a campaign to stop drinking Coca-Cola products for six months.
    Thank you for your support in your comments about this discrimination.

    Ciudad de México, 17 de Mayo.- El “Poder del Consumidor” llamó a responden contra “Coca Cola-Schwepps” por la campaña que emprendió en el Reino Unido, en la que discrimina a los mexicanos por la alerta sanitaria por influenza huamana.

    Alejandro Calvillo, director de “El poder del Consumidor” lamentó que “en medio de la severa crisis económica que sufre el país, del impacto de la epidemia de influenza en el turismo y otras importantes ramas de la economía en México, la campaña de Coca Cola-Schweppes en el Reino Unido fortalece el estigma y la discriminación contra la población mexicana y México desarrollados en algunos países y sectores.”

    En ese sentido, dijo que Coca Cola cae en una profunda irresponsabilidad con consecuencias negativas para los mexicanos y tenemos que responder como consumidores con el poder que tenemos al elegir productos.

    En un comunicado, añadió que la empresa de bebidas Schweppes de Coca Cola en el Reino Unido lanzó hace dos días su campaña titulada “cómo obtener un asiento en el metro”, en la que muestra a una persona con sombrero de charro sentada en un vagón de metro con un paquete de pañuelos desechables y una bolsa de chicharrón, mientras los usuarios no se atreven a entrar, haciendo alusión a la epidemia de influenza y a la posibilidad de contagio.


    • Let me clarify to all those who have commented. I am told that the ad was withdrawn immediately after the negative feedback. While I understand the sentiments behind the comments, corrective action was taken – as is clearly mentioned in the post. I only wrote about it since I found the topic interesting. I am now thinking of deleting the post to avoid any more trouble!

  8. Gilberto Peña Reply


    Thanks for your respond; I don’t think that could exist any trouble. It is just that we are angry with Coca Cola

  9. Or how to look like an ignorant jerk, racist, and xenophobic. Viruses don’t come along with genes, but discrimination comes along with stupid and reduced thinking -maybe caused by your mad cow disease?

  10. Leonel García Reply

    I too am Mexican and quite frankly I find this ridiculous (not to mention offensive) advertisement to be just another example of how some times corporations, in their unstoppable quest for increasing sales, advertise ideas that promote intolerance and ignorance towards the diversity of cultures. Now a days we’re supposed to be a “more conscious-tolerant modern society” but it is things like this that shows us just how far we can some times be from that ideal. I don’t ask that the world should be perfect, it would be ridiculous of me, but at least we can try to show respect for cultural diversity by not promoting absurd stereotypes that, in cases like this one, also have a negative consequence for the economy by discouraging tourism.

  11. Maria Elena Navarro Reply

    As a Mexican y found this ad quite offensive. As a human being I found it cruel, if only the person who made this drawing , knew the consequence of the Flu in Mexico, he would feel at least a bit sympathetic with the Mexican people….Hundreds of jobs were lost, because of the ignorance that stood behind it, ignorance implies fear, fear caused by mass media..We Mexicans are strong, and have gotten through adversity MANY times. NO SE AGUITEN PAISANOS…Somos fuertes y por lo que veo MEJORES que estos güeritos, jediondos….Perdon por esteriotipar…;)

  12. Had this ad/picture been published anonymously, without promoting any brand… we would have taken it at face value, being what it is… just a cartoon. We would have smirked, deleted it, or just moved along. The fact that a multinational brand stamped their name on it is just stupid and ignorant. There is a lesson here, Coca Cola Company: DO NOT INSULT YOUR CONSUMERS.

  13. Why don´t english people draw their ugly mouths with rooting teeth instead huh? they are supposed to be 1st level countries and they behave like animals. I totally disaprove this kind of stupid propaganda.

  14. This is not only offensive to Mexican people, but it further hurts our turism. We have been deeply suffering and trying to recover after the swine flu, everyone cancelled trips and vacations to our country, we have several campaigns that are trying to help recover the power of tourism, which is one of our main ways of income. Coca cola not only offended us, but hurt our already siffering economy, I agree, they should come out and apologize in public. This is a company that has always been strongly supported by our people, they should be thankful for our consumers and help us recover instead of hurting us. Shame on their company. Never drinking one coke product again.

  15. I don’t know were are all you guys from or live, I’m mexican and live in Mexico city and I’ve just got this new advertising campaign via e-mail which I find totally offensive and mocking of the situation we just lived few months ago.
    I just want to let you know that I’ll share this article with all my contacts in Mexico and totally agree to stop drinking Coca-Cola products for a while unless they apologize for what they did.

  16. Rommel Luna Reply

    As a mexican I find this.. guess what… actually funny!
    You have to understand those big teethed britons and their sense of humor.
    You also have to do something that is very very difficult for us Mexicans, which is: Be Tolerant. Most Mexicans are pretty paranoid and think that the world is out to get them.. cheer up, people! We are as good but not better than the rest of the world!
    I know people will not understand me, hate me, insult me, and totally not tolerate me, but guess what, I will tolerate your insults and still find the humor in them.
    Viva Mexico, cabrones!

  17. Rommel, thanks! While there is some voice of reason in your comments, I can see why so many are offended. As an Indian, I am also used to stereotypical portrayal of India and Indians in western advertising. Sometimes it is offensive, specially when it involves religion (like in the new Burger King ad depicting a Hindu Goddess). But in most cases portrayal of a nation’s people or caricaturing them is a result of ignorance and ‘going with the flow’ – they think this is how that nation must be. The best way to react is to ignore it. In this case, the company who paid for the ad has already taken corrective action and withdrawn the ad.

  18. 100% MeXiCaN and 0% offended.

    I did not get offended, I guess ’cause I’m open minded and tolerant. Oh, well, let’s move on!

  19. Alex Chavez Reply

    This is incredible… totally wrong. How in the world they could release a stupid ad like this? Yes, in Mexico we are starting a campaign against Coca Cola. E-mails are distributing fast. Too bad mexicans like Coca Cola products. Ado you know what? We are not ignoring this. No sir. We are not a joke for the rest of the world. We deserve a lot of respect, as we are not a military country. We never go to war and leave other countries live in peace. Stop hurting our feelings.

  20. I am Mexican living in Mexico City. I think the advertising campaign for Coca-Cola (Schweppes) in the United Kingdom is pathetic. There are ways to make humor of good quality, not cheap humor and offensive against an entire country, which is one of its best markets. Fail decision of the executives of Coca-Cola for such cheap publicity. Remember the famous words of Benito Juárez: “Among individuals as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace”.”Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno, es la paz”.

  21. caty ricardez Reply

    sooo…is it possible that the creative group of Schweepes had come to an end?, the cartoon is not just offensive but also retrograde and infamous. so why dont promove the product with a new campaing about some in the subway with AID, or and Asian with the SAT, or better yet the Bubonic plague?….well just to give an brainstorm to the Marketing deparment. so gracious!!!!! so gracious!!!

  22. Who said that Mexicans use hats like those?? I’m Mexican and I’ve never seen anybody with a hat like that in 30 years… I don’t know why ignorant English people who are not anything else than the slaves of the United States think that we use hats… It’s ridiculous…

    But well.. we Mexicans should not feel offended because we don’t use stupid hats like those.. only ignorant people who haven’t gone out of their small towns that stink can think that

  23. What is the matter with people all over the world??¿¿
    Every single idiot on earth makes funny about us (Mexicans) many goverments from different countries and also companies that earn money here are doing very stupid things with our symbols. Just to talk about some ountries::
    – Peru, Argentina, China & others: during the flu troubles didn´t accept to recieve flights from Mexico, but we don´t say anything about whats going on on their countries, other like Canada is doing things aggains like the requirement of visa to go to their country… its time to do someting agains them like they do agains us… a very good beginnig would be if we don´t consume Coca-cola… cause coca-cola… remain that we are one of the highers drinkers of sodas…

  24. I am a mexican, and i think that is correct advertising….we don’t dress like this, but, we are bad people….that we deserve.

    • María Fernanda Manzano Reply

      Roger, talk for yourself…
      Im mexican, and I don’t consider myself of the huge cantity of people I know as bad… so, sorry if you have that concept of yourself…
      The marketing concept is kind of witty, I must accept that but is completely out of the PCM (politically correct manners) of the british people…

  25. Why don’t CocaCola does an ad in which they show that the swine flu virus was originated in California USA and not in Mexico as they us to belive. That will be fun, a cartoon that shows Obama instructing Calderon to declare a health emergency in Mexico to defend the USA economy. Hahahahaha!!!!!

  26. Well, this certainly makes you think, huh? I’m one of the seemingly few Mexicans who does not feel ethnically offended by this. It has been already said that there are stereotypes everywhere, and most people won’t complain about them until they find they have been targeted. The important thing would be to not let yourself be carried away by them. What I feel bad about is the way a big company uses marketing so irresponsibly (I know it was withdrawn immediately). It just shows they didn’t think very hard about the possible outcome, expecting everyone to be understanding regarding their sense of humor, and not really thinking about some other portion of the market’s sensibilities, not to mention no one ever considered how harmful it might have been to many sectors of the Mexican industry when it was approved.

  27. I got this link on an email. I’m also Mexican living in the UK, and I’m not offended by the ad as Mexican person simply because I think nationalist sentiments should be eradicated along with bad edvertising. Having said this, how can some people call this ad ‘social commentary’, ‘British satire’, and some even call for tolerance and openmindedness arguing in favour of the ad! Tolerance excludes ignorance, being open minded does not mean neglecting and not caring about the world around you; these mean being able to introduce new categories of meaning into your reltions with ideas, symbols, objects, etc. around you. Then you can tolerate the things you don’t particularly like. And about British satire, well, satire is form of humour wich mocks ilogical, foolish, unreasonable social behaviour by finding the essence behing such behaviour and showing how stupid and nota at all absolute that essence actually is. What the coca-cola ad does is the opposite, it falls for shallow stereotypes and celebrates the event of their reproduction, associating it with notions of smartness and wittyness. The ad does not call for tolerance, openmindedness, nor is it an example of good satire (British or otherwise). So, I’m offended as a consumer more than as a Mexican. However, I do think it’s a pitty that most people is so ready to settle for pre-fabricated, clichéd relations regarding other cultures. So much seeing ‘the whole world’ on tv and so much international travelling for nothing!

    • María Fernanda Manzano Reply

      I totally agree with you…
      Is about the marketing “mistake” not about been getting offended and putting a country against another…

  28. Although the ad has been promptly removed, it has already caused damage. I have just received the e-mail from one of my primary students in order to stop drinking Coca-Cola products for 6 months. I haven’t seen any apology from the company. I guess when the company realized the harm done, something else must have been done. What happened to the people who decided to publish these ads? I also work for 2 other schools (more or less a total of 3,100 students). Now imagine how rapidly a campaign from Mexicans against Coca-Cola products can flow.

  29. We can actually get angry because of this. But the reality is that we actually have to change our projection outside of our bounderies. I am very proud of my culture, eventough as many young people here, i think we need to improve our “Brand” as a Country, our image as a Nation so we can in a near future expect a better recognition abroad. Todos nosotros tenemos un dicho que aplica tambien fuera del país. “A como te ven te tratan” .

  30. well, i’m mexican, and i don’t feel offended about this. It’s just about tolerance, and i can tell you that a mexican entrerprise has done this thing before. Think in Corona advertising, showing us its product in China or India…even i felt offended, i couldn’t say anything about the coca-cola advertising because of this. The point is, mexican people has a lot of stereotypes of minorities in our country, and even against other nations, but they really feel offended when anyone else does the same thing to them.
    People, i summon you to look at the funny side of this affair. We are the sole country that get fun about the death (those who have read a calaverita will understand) , i can’t believe all this noise about a cartoon. I can almost bet that someone in mexico had mocked about the swine flu…

    • Pero por supesto!!
      Con que cara se atreven a sentirse ofendidos!!
      Aquí ya estaban bromeando con lo del temblor al día siguiente, y se arma un alboroto por eso? Eso es tener poca vergüenza! La verdad!

      Me encantó tu comentario.

  31. Hello I’m mexican to. A lot of my fellow mexicans think it’s offensive, but that’s their opinion. In Mexico we like to make fun out of everything or everybody, and now we are upset? Bulls…t!!!

    You mus know that I have a friend who almost died beacause of this, and we were laughing our asses of when we saw it!! So, please! Here, in Mexico, we are all making jokes about that and others can’t because they’re not mexican?

    It is funny! Period!!

  32. Hi!
    I´m mexican, proud of it, and proud of having the opportunity of studying abroad and have the chance to see some european places, including London. I CAN´T IMAGINE WHO DARE TO PUBLISH THIS… when mexican people are hired by european companies known by their hardwork and responsability, when we have here english companies investing and taking advantage of our low wages and markets…
    I´ve known that people in europe die every year for influenza, and in Mexico it´s the first time we have had this, and we have never made any discrimination ads for this.
    I really feel this is offensive for our country and our people, including me… I definetly think that an ignorant and agressive comment like that will definetly affect our consumption.
    I hope the governmet really takes actions against this kind of situations.

  33. I’m mexican and I found it funny! People lack sense of humour. I have been travelling for the past days around europe and I have not been discriminated at any point of my trip. Yeah I have recieved some comments around it but never offensive.

    The problem is that it might encourage further mocks that could get worse

  34. A little bit late, but here are my two cents. I’m Mexican (Proud of been Mexican and proud of my country) living in Oakland, CA.
    I can not said that this cartoon is not offensive, it reinforce an stereotype about Mexicans that has been there since the revolution time. But I can not complain about it because we as Mexicans have not done to much to correct our image in the world. On the top of that we have so many stereotypes in our country about another cultures. Here are some examples of it: the Hooligan, memin pinguin, el pacha, huevo cartoons. And what about our jokes “How does a Gallego change a light bowl”, there are to many things that we do in relationship to other countries and even to our own people, that getting offended by this advertisement sound a little bit dumb.

    I have travel to different countries in Europe and the Americas and as Mexican I had been treated really nice. Here in the states has been different at times, and here is where the company is based.

    Let’s boycott Coca-Cola for the damage that the drink causes in your body. Please don’t get offended, let’s read and get more educated and start fixing our self at home, that will help for sure to create a better stereotype of Mexicans.

    For you UK people, about the swine flu that was a big propaganda, I was in Mexico for a month and I saw no one sick or with a big hat, but I had a great time with my family.

    Thank you!

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