Sprite apologizes as Internet backlash ensues over ‘sexist’ ad campaign

A beverage company has come under fire once again for an ad campaign that critics are calling misguided and sexist.

This week, Coca-Cola Co. has been running digital ads for Sprite on JOE.ie, an Irish men’s lifestyle site, as part of the brand’s #BrutallyRefreshing campaign, reports AdAge.

The banners featured bottles of the soda with taglines such as "She's seen more ceilings than Michelangelo," "You're not popular, you're easy" and "A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2!" The copy was also featured on billboards and Sprite bottles sold throughout the country.

But just a few days after unleashing the new soda copy, Coca-Cola was feeling the wrath of angry Internet critics accusing the soda maker of encouraging misogynic behavior.

Some even called for a boycott of the brand.

On Thursday, Coca-Cola addressed the controversy and apologized for the tone of its latest installment of the Sprite campaign.

“We're sorry for any offense caused by the #BrutallyRefreshing Sprite campaign in Ireland, which was intended to provide an edgy but humorous take on a range of situations. Since its introduction in Ireland, Sprite has been associated with individuality and self-expression and we have always been committed to ensuring we deliver the highest standard of advertising.

"We recognize that on this particular occasion the content did not meet this standard and we apologize. The campaign has now come to an end and the advert in question will not appear again."

The campaign asked consumers to share their "refreshing truths" using the hashtag #BrutallyRefreshing.

Other iterations of the campaign included a previous installment with two Snapchat stars in a video discussing "refreshing truths" such as, "We all have one tight friend," "One dip is never enough" and, "If you have to give your taxi driver directions you're better off walking."

Coca-Cola isn’t the first beverage company to come under fire for supposedly promoting sexist behavior. In April 2015, Bud Light’s “Up For Whatever” slogan was accused of promoting rape culture. The brand apologized but did not pull bottles featuring the tagline already on store shelves at the time.