Ad Mishap in Poland Links Microsoft with Racism

Dennis Faas's picture

One of Microsoft's latest online advertisement has been called racist in nature, though some argue it's just plain bad photo editing. Whatever the issue, two different versions of the same still-pictured ad were seen on a number of Microsoft web sites, including those of foreign affiliates.

Black Male Model Swapped for White

The advertisement in question depicts a panel of three individuals seated in a boardroom setting at a table. The first seated is a an Asian male; the second, a black male seated behind an open laptop computer; the third, a white female.

The problem?

The second version of the ad was uploaded to another Microsoft affiliate site in Poland, sans the black male model. In fact, the head of the black male was swapped for the head of a white male -- with everything else in tact including the upper torso and hands.

Link to Pictures At End of This Article

The news reportedly sent panic waves throughout Microsoft headquarters, with personnel making every effort possible to correct the snafu. Microsoft has been quoted as saying that the people responsible for editing the picture "left the company some time ago." (Source:

Microsoft 'Tweets' Apology

The reason for the swap is reportedly still under review. On the official Microsoft page via social network site Twitter, Microsoft issued a posting that called the model switch "a marketing mistake," while offering "sincere apologies" to those who were offended by the advertisement. (Source:

Racially Uniform or Diverse Society?

According to the business website, the model switch might have been influenced in light of the "racially homogeneous" market in Poland. (Source: Others suggest that this is just a case of bad photo editing and that editing ads for a selective market is an acceptable practice that embraces a diverse, multicultural society. (Source:

What do you think? See ad pictures here.

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