In what can only be described as a growing trend, another automaker finds itself in trouble for an ad that critics are calling offensive. A new television and internet ad for the Chevrolet Trax subcompact crossover is under fire for its soundtrack, which a Chinese newspaper has labeled "racist."
The commercial blends the not-sold-in-the-US vehicle with a Flapper-era backdrop and soundtrack, and it's the latter that has General Motors spokeswoman Ryndee Carney issuing an on-the-record apology to Advertising Age: "Our intent was not to offend anyone and we're deeply sorry if anyone was offended... we're reviewing our advertising approval processes to make sure this doesn't happen again." The song in question, Booty Swing, is performed by Austrian DJ and producer Parov Stelar, refers to "the land of Fu Manchu" a place in which the girls sing "ching, ching, chop-suey." The South China Morning Post was among the first to publish a story criticizing the commercial as racist.
The ad, known as The Original Reborn, has been running in Canada – where the vehicle is on sale – and AdAge also reports that it has been featured on the automaker's European websites. Since the controversy erupted, Chevrolet has since substituted a new version of the ad that omits the lyrics, but you can view the original by scrolling below.
Controversial ads are nothing new for this industry, but there has been a bumper crop of them lately, including a recent Hyundai suicide-themed spot and a series of Indian-market Ford print ads featuring celebrity caricatures making light of S&M-tinged kidnappings.
UPDATE: A video of the song itself has been added below – it spells out the lyrics in question.