RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian bank commercial highlighting the country’s diversity was pulled following a request by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, the bank confirmed on Friday (Apr 26).
The campaign by the bank – which has since let its marketing director go – was intended to attract young clients and featured black and transgender actors. It began running at the beginning of the month before being stopped on Apr 14.
“The president and I agreed that this commercial should be removed,” Banco de Brasil president Rubem Novaes said in a statement, without offering further detail on the reasons for the decision.
He added that marketing director Delano Valentim’s departure was by mutual agreement.
The commercial showed a mix of black and white actors, some with tattoos and coloured hair, snapping selfies to lively music as a voiceover explained how to open an account online.
People of colour are underrepresented in Brazilian advertising, despite making up the majority of the country’s population.
According to newspaper O Globo, Bolsonaro reached out directly to the bank’s president to demand the advertisement be pulled.
The interference prompted widespread criticism.
“There is no place for diversity in this government. Bolsonaro acts like a little dictator,” said Maria do Rosario, a deputy from the leftwing Workers Party.
While himself a deputy, Bolsonaro made headlines for saying that Do Rosario was “too ugly” to be raped.
The commercial spat followed outrage on Thursday after Bolsonaro said he did not want Brazil to be a “gay tourism paradise,” in response to a question on whether his homophobic remarks could risk foreign investment.