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Sorry if it's been posted already...
I worked as a designer for an ad agency in New Zealand and had to do similar things a couple of times.
A lot of the time companies had images of people taken directly from photo libraries which are overwhelmingly American-based, and they just looked slightly wrong advertising, say, a plumbing company from Wellington. So we had to ditch or alter them to avoid it looking slightly out of sync, or too 'Americanized' I believe the term was.
It should be noted that NZ has far, far fewer black people than here or the US, so this would be more of an issue if it was to happen here I think. But in places where there isn't a very visible black presence like NZ - or, I presume, Poland - it sounds on paper much worse than the prosaic reality, which is that advertisers like to mirror their audience.
The real scandal is how lax the Photoshop job was on a major company's ad.
It's an overreaction to call it racism - it simply is that companies would try to use photos that mirror and therefore appeal to their audience. Hence why here, or in America, there's be a higher proportion of black people used on adverts than in countries where there isn't a significant black population .
I mean Microsoft have done two stupid things here:
Firstly, as Lucien says, a shit photoshop job and secondly failing to anticipate that the fact this is accessible online and would be seen globally meant this kind of thing was likely to cause an outcry. So they should have either done a better photoshop job or, better still, taken a different photo for the Polish adverts. Basically by trying to cut costs they've invited this kind of outcry. But it'd inaccurate to call it racism.
Only about two weeks ago.
My opinion/Immutable fact: Microsoft have done absolutely nothing wrong. Indeed, anyone who thinks that there's something in any way incorrect about having people in an advert look like the people who you intend to buy the product must be some kind of cretin.
Also: "Bloggers are guessing that the photo was changed because it was targeted to Polish consumers which are mostly white. This reasoning makes no sense as an Asian man was not photoshopped out of the photo." - That guy didn't look all that Asian. He looks, as they must say in the advertising industry 'white enough'.
Shame on a nigga who try to run game on a nigga
1. Attempts to portray sincere parent/child relationships always seem creepy.
2. Hot curly haired black women go moist for wireless broadband routers and mainframes.
3. People who sit in cramped cubicles answering customer service calls in drab corporate callcenters are overjoyed to help fix your DSL modem.
4. At least 1 in 3 people chosen at random will necessarily be "African American," even though only 13% of the US population is black.
5. The amount of forced enthusiasm you have for a commercial product is directly proportional to how big of an asshole you are.
6. Kids love manual labor.
7. That one-handed, one-knee laptop bullshit is the preferred way to get real work done.
8. Random-ass white dudes should be placed all over your corporate website for no fucking reason.
9. Teenage boys share intimate feelings with each other.