Smart Rethinks ZA Billboard

May 23, 2006

The blog world wins another victory: last week, TCConfidential showed you the smart billboard that referenced “American nothing” in what seems to be a derogatory way. Complaints about the billboard — brought to our attention by a reader via Neandernews.com — apparently reached DaimlerChrysler brass in South Africa, who in turn contacted TheCarConnection on Tuesday to advise that the billboard was being removed:

“We wish to advise that the intention of the communication headline of the billboard was never to reflect negatively on the American society, but rather to refer to the vehicle’s features and product characteristics. Whereas most American vehicles are famous for e.g. being large in size, the reference to “American nothing” relates to vehicle manufacturing and most certainly not to the American society…

Although we appreciate the fact that all advertisements are open for interpretation by various individuals depending on their own personal opinions, we wish to state that none of the advertisements by DaimlerChrysler in promoting its brands are aimed to be discriminating or offending against any individual, belief, religion, colour, nationality, country or otherwise.

Having regard to the above, and without it being construed as an admission of guilt on the part of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in placing the billboard, it has been resolved to remove the billboard to avoid any further misconception and wrong perception as to the true intent of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in the promotion of the smart brand. We wish to apologise for any offence taken as a result of the misperception created by the billboard.”

Fritz van Olst
Management Board Member, Sales & Marketing
DaimlerChrysler South Africa (pty) Ltd.

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