Coca-Cola company has come under fierce criticism for naming a can of drink after the female sex organ.
The company has a in style advert marketing campaign that encourages sharing by writing the identity of a particular person on a coke bottle with the phrases, “Share a coke with… (particular person’s identity)”
One of the cans with the word “Share a coke with Xitombo” was printed and photos of it was subsequently circulated on social media. Xitombo means vagina in South Africa
South Africans called out the company on twitter and there were massive calls for the company to correct its mistake.
A South African politician and a former Premier of Gauteng province, Mbhazima Shilowa said it is an insult to women.
This is a matter that the Gender Commission, the ANCWL and other women and gender organization and the department of women in the Presidency should have taken up with @CocaCola_ZA It is an insult to women let alone it being vulgar. Heads should roll including those who approved
Innocent Manyike ™@ManyikeInno
Hi @CocaCola_ZA , do you even know the meaning of this or you just approve stuff for the sake of doing it without being cognisant of the fact that this is really uncalled for?This is disrespectful and we demand an explanation as #Vatsonga or else you will suffer the consequences.
Does @CocaCola know what xitombo mean?
Replying to the outrage, Coca-Cola explained that the campaign had three elements which included digital activation and engaging with consumers to personalize their own Coke cans.
The statement from Coca-Cola reads:
“The main element of the campaign was to place approximately 700 of South Africa’s most popular names on Coca-Cola cans and bottles, which were sold in stores.
These names were identified in partnership with the Department of Home Affairs and Stats SA.
The names spread across the 11 official languages and were sent to two professional linguists for phonetic treatment, reviewed by various internal approval teams and finally printed, distributed and sold in the market.
The Xitsonga word that led to this incident was not one of these names identified by the Department of Home Affairs, nor was the can marketed or sold by Coca-Cola.”
Coca-Cola acknowledged their mistake and said that they are “very disappointed that the controls we put in place could be taken advantage of in this manner.”
The company clarified that the can was not on sale but part of an activation..
Coca-Cola Southern Africa spokesperson, Camilla Osborne said the company has a “filter system” to prevent profanities from being printed.
“We are still investigating how this one incident was not captured by the filter system, he said.
“The naming activations will continue this month, but from this week, consumers will have to show their IDs as proof of their names, says Osborne. “This is to ensure preventing further profanity appearing on our products, he added.