The days when it would suffice to put a happy cow with mountains in the background on a milk or yoghurt carton or bottle to sell, seem to be counted. Nowadays, you have to have a picture of a sexy blonde riding a humongous banana on the label for mum to buy banana flavoured milk for the kids, or a nutty (a brunette) lady in stockings wrestling an oversized nut, at least in the Müller Milch world.
But that’s not where the creativity of the Bavarian sugarmilk sellers ends, and of course not why they are being accused of sexism and racism by part of the German public. The marketing wizards brainstormed some more and came up with the fabulous Geistesblitz to put a disproportionally large piece of chocolate into the lap of an otherwise almost naked black woman, which they named Sharon Sheila Schoko (the banana riding blonde and the nut wrestling brunette also have stage names).
“It's weird. It is definitely racist and sexist. Even in the 1950s these types of pictures were considered sexist,” Tahir Della of the Initiative for Black People in Germany (ISD) told The Local.
“They are trying to provoke and they are trying to do something which sits on the boundaries of acceptable taste,” he said. “But even if they didn't have racist intentions, this is still racist.”
“Our chosen motif references 1950s pin-up poses and in this regard it is much less revealing than what has become the standard in terms of naked flesh on TV and in adverts in recent years,” Müller Milch told Handelsblatt.
“Racism in any form was never our intention. We would have faced exactly the same accusation if we hadn't chosen Sharon Sheila Schoko but had instead gone with an exclusively white motif.”
The product (milk + sugar) is available in nine different flavours and you can admire the artwork here.