Australian fruit juice franchise Boost Juice has come under fire for what many see as appropriating Indigenous cultures of the world.
The videos posted on their various social media accounts depict a man and a woman dressed in fruit and body paint.
The characters appear to roar and make other incoherent sounds, in which some Facebook users have described as “tone deaf ignorant content”.
“The face paint and the performance references a conflation of the stereotypical warrior. What we have here is a caricature of tribal people that ridicules them as weird, funny and strange aka 'other',” Luke Devine commented on the video.
“Now I get that advertising people may not be that sophisticated politically particularly in Australia but one would think there would be someone, somewhere in a business that large who would vet the content before it was disseminated.
“This is tone deaf ignorant content. Boost is a good product but I can't buy it if they insist on being dip s**ts.”
In response to one disgruntled commenter, the franchise said their inspiration for the ad came from Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones or Lagertha in Vikings.
But users quickly shot back.
“What a pathetic excuse for a response on behalf of Boost. You portrayed caricatures of Indigenous warriors like monkeys, this has nothing to do with some white TV characters,” Kathleen Tukorehu said.
When NITV News reached out for comment, Boost Juice apologised for any offence they may have caused to the Australian Indigenous community.
“Our campaign is based on a fictional fruit warriors [sic] and does not reference Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultures.
“We are genuinely sorry if some people have interpreted our campaign as borrowing from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture and we can confirm that absolutely no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural images or references were used in the creation of our fictional fruit warrior, and any similarities are unintended.”
The franchise said they were trying to ‘visualise the power of fruit and vegetables by having people wear it’.
“We are proud to have a diverse workforce that is made up of people from many different cultures in both our stores and support office, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” a representative told NITV News.
Although there have been complaints from users on social media saying their posts have been deleted, the company claims “no posts have been deleted and only those with profanities have been hidden in accordance with our page guidelines.”