Coca-Cola was forced to withdraw an Internet campaign after parents accused the company of using hardcore pornographic references to target children on Facebook.
A Facebook promotion for Dr Pepper, a part of the Coca-Cola drinks range, posted a reference to an explicit pornographic film on the ‘wall’ of a minor girl.
The users allowed the company to hijack their Facebook status box as part of the promotion, posting embarrassing messages under their names.
More than 1,60,000 people had signed up for the hoax statuses that included, “Lost my special blankie. How will I go sleepies?” and “What’s wrong with peeing in the shower?”
But the marketing drive went awry when a parent complained that her 14-year-old daughter’s hijacked status claimed that she had watched a hardcore pornographic film that is notorious for the obscene practices it depicts.
“I am absolutely fizzing with rage and disgust, and want a full apology and explanation,” The Telegraph quoted the girl’s mother Mrs Rickman as writing on the parents’ networking site Mumsnet.
“It has been brought to our attention that the Dr Pepper promotion on Facebook posted an offensive status update. We apologise for any offence caused,” a spokesman said.
“As soon as we became aware of this, we took immediate action and removed the status update from the application. We have also taken the decision to end the promotion. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this does not happen again,” the spokesman added.