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Coca-Cola cancels promotion after bottle caps call people ‘Douche’ and ‘You Retard’

Sep 20, 2013

The Coca-Cola Company caught the wrong side of a language barrier in French Canada when they started a promotion that printed random English and French words inside bottle caps.

Blake Loates and her husband were shocked to crack open a bottle of Vitamin Water in Edmonton this week and find a bottle cap that said, simply, “You Retard.”

Even worse, Loates has a younger sister with cerebral palsy and autism. We all know the “r” word should be offensive to everyone, not just families of special needs individuals, but the chances of this particular combination of English and French words (retard is “to slow down” in French) happening to find their way to a special needs family member have to be pretty slim. It’s like a perfect storm of offense.

Shannon Denny, director of brand communications for Coca-Cola Canada, said this isn’t the first complaint to come from the bottle cap promotion—someone else complained about being called a “Douche” (the French word for shower).

“What would you do if you opened up your bottle of Vitamin Water and on the bottom of the lid it read, ‘YOU RETARD’?” the Loates’ letter to Coca-Cola read. “Think about it. I bet you’d be pissed off if you had a Fiona in your life… Can you imagine if SHE had opened this bottle?”

The game itself sounds pretty dull. Customers were supposed to “collect the caps to combine words into humorous sentences.”

I mean…I guess? What ever happened to just printing “winner” and giving out a million bucks?

Image: ABC

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