Cases of Christmas branded Coca-Cola are shown for sale inside a Target retail department store in San Diego, California November 17, 2014. Reuters/Mike Blake

Coca-Cola Mexico was forced to pull an online advert which has been critisised by people on social media because it was deemed offensive to Mexico’s indigenous people. The “Open Your Heart” advertisement shows young white people distributing bottles of soda to people in a remote Mexican village.

The consumers, media, advocacy groups and indigenous rights’ groups in Mexico believe that the campaign does not show unity but insteads highlights colonialism. “This type of publicity is an act of discrimination and racism,” Elvira Pablo, an indigenous lawyer said, Yahoo News writes.“It is a comment on our type of life and an attempt to put a culture of consumerism in its place.”

The ad was promoted on YouTube for about a week, it was hugely critisised on social media, following which Coca-cola pulled it on last Tuesday. “CocaCola‪ your #AbreTuCorazón campaign is wrong in so many ways, 140 characters is too few to express it,” writes one critic on Twitter. Check out the video of the ad below.

Coca-Cola has however said that they set their ad in the Mixe town of Totontepec, a town in the southern state of Oaxaca and it was meant to “convey a message of unity and joy.” There was an accompanying text in the ad, which claimed that 81.6 percent of Mexico’s indigenous people feel unloved for speaking a language other than Spanish. The video did not cite a source for the statistic and ends with “#AbreTuCorazon” or “#OpenYourHeart.”

However, its interpretation has been completely different.

“Our intention was never to be insensitive to or underestimate any indigenous group,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said in a statement to food news site Eater. “We have now removed the video and apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”

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