A Samsung ad for its wearable products that featured a drag queen and his Muslim mother has been removed after it was found to be “insensitive and offensive to some members of our local community” in Singapore.
The ad was part of the South Korean electronics company’s “Listen to Your Heart” campaign to promote its Galaxy Buds2 and Watch4.
Samsung partnered with ad agency Cheil Singapore to demonstrate the wearable products in the commercial by recording the heart rates of participants while they listen to different kinds of music. The company then had the participants listen to voice recordings of their loved ones giving a heartfelt speech.
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The ad includes a drag queen who acknowledges his supportive mother; an unbreakable bond between two best friends; a father who spent time in jail and was absent during most of his young daughter’s life; and a man who commended his fiancée after going through depression and facing the death of her father.
Although Samsung removed the ad from YouTube, videos of it have appeared on TikTok.
Some social media users criticized Samsung for featuring the Muslim woman and her drag queen son. Others expressed support for the LGBTQ plus community, with one user saying: “Among some family and friends, sense and sensibility do exist. To LGBT friends facing outright discrimination, you have a friend in me.”
In a Facebook post, Samsung wrote that it is aware of the online backlash.
“We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance, and have since removed the content from all public platforms,” Samsung said. “Samsung believes that innovation and growth are driven by diversity and inclusivity. We will certainly be more mindful and thorough in considering all perspectives and viewpoints for our future marketing campaigns.”
Anand Vathiyar, managing director at Cheil Singapore, told Marketing Interactive the campaign was meant for people from all walks of life to be able to express their true feelings to their loved ones.
“What is heartening is that for everyone who is getting politically correct about this episode, there are many others, especially younger Singaporeans, who seem to get that we can do better to listen to each other with due care, empathy, respect, and consideration,” Vathiyar said.
Featured Image via Samsung Singapore