Bayo campaign, assailed as ‘racist’, spawns meme

MANILA, Philippines – The latest ad campaign of clothing line Bayo is drawing huge flak from Filipinos online for putting forward a proposition and standard of beauty that critics say is patently “racist”.

The controversial ad material features actress Jasmine Curtis-Smith with the short copy stating: “50% Australian and 50% Filipino,” highlighting Smith’s mixed-race lineage. Following the same concept, other Filipinos of mixed-race parentage are featured on Bayo’s website.

The material that has particularly made the rounds of the Internet and social platforms comes with copy that asks: “What’s your mix?” It then goes on: “Call it biased, but the mixing and matching of different nationalities with Filipino blood is almost a sure formula for someone beautiful and world class.”

The statement said the campaign is all about “having fun creating your own look” by mixing and matching various pieces of tops, bottoms, dresses, pants, patterns, and the like.

The controversial Bayo ad circulating online

Bayo has yet to come out with a statement about the ruckus the ad material has generated online (BAYO official statement. Ed.). It also has yet to acknowledge or verify if the material spreading online originally came from the company itself. ‘What’s your mix’ posters featuring other mixed-race Filipinos are still posted on Bayo’s website, but none of which carry the copy that has generated so much criticism.

Social media users have blasted and mocked the ad, saying that it puts down Filipinos who are 100-percent Filipino. Others asked whether in a globalized era, it was even possible to define nationalities along ethnic lines.

Some also found the suggestion of “mixing” racial or ethnic bloodlines, to pro-actively approach some formula for beauty, objectionable.

“So according to BAYO, all the 100% Pinoys na Hindi Mestizo ay pangit (not meztizo are ugly). Way to go Bayo!” said one Twitter user.

“Silly Bayo ad campaign. It’s not Filipino heritage (mixed w/ other races) that makes someone world-class. It’s excellence from hard work,” added another.

The chatter has been so widespread over social networking site Twitter that the term “Bayo” even became one of the trending topics in the Philippines on Wednesday afternoon.

Still, there are those who chose to make light of the situation, lampooning the ad and campaign spreading online.

BAYO official statement (June 7, 2010).

Screenshots of the current BAYO ads online: