GLOBAL ECONOMY

Coca-Cola pulls controversial ad in Mexico deemed offensive to indigenous people

A man eats a sandwich nexto to a Coca-Cola sign in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. The Alliance for Food Health, a coalition of consumer rights and health groups, wants the Mexican government to block an ad of the "Open Your Heart" holiday campaign by Coca-Cola Mexico, saying it is an attack on the dignity of indigenous people. The campaign is coming under fire as "faux philanthropy" and an insult to indigenous groups for its portrayal of a truckload of festive, fashion model-looking white people driving into the remote hills of Oaxaca hauling Coke and a Christmas tree as a service project. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A man eats a sandwich nexto to a Coca-Cola sign in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. The Alliance for Food Health, a coalition of consumer rights and health groups, wants the Mexican government to block an ad of the "Open Your Heart" holiday campaign by Coca-Cola Mexico, saying it is an attack on the dignity of indigenous people. The campaign is coming under fire as "faux philanthropy" and an insult to indigenous groups for its portrayal of a truckload of festive, fashion model-looking white people driving into the remote hills of Oaxaca hauling Coke and a Christmas tree as a service project. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A Coca-Cola Mexico spokesman says the company apologized and has pulled an online ad after it was deemed offensive to the country's indigenous people by consumer, media and advocacy groups.

Director of publicity Diego Bracamontes says the ad was pulled late Tuesday after about a week online in Mexico, and that the company never meant to offend anyone.

The "Open Your Heart" holiday campaign came under fire with its portrayal of festive, fashion-model-looking white people driving into the remote hills of Oaxaca to haul Coke and a Christmas tree as a service project for the indigenous Mixe community of Totontepec Villa de Morelos.

Bracamontes told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the message was misinterpreted, and that the campaign is about unity and happiness across communities.

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