Coke Had to Cancel a Contest After a Bottle Cap Called Someone "Retard"

Illustration for article titled Coke Had to Cancel a Contest After a Bottle Cap Called Someone "Retard"

It's no fun to be called names, but usually you only have to worry about it from people. That's not always the case, as a Canadian woman learned when she cracked open a refreshing Vitamin water and was met with "YOU RETARD." That's one hell of a glitch.


It wasn't just a mouthy bottle of Vitamin Water though. The whole thing was apparently part of a (ill-advised) sweepstakes by parent company Coca-Cola. The idea was that the caps would match a random English word (i.e. "you") with a French word (i.e. "retard"), and players could collect caps to make silly sentences. Wackiness ensues! Except not.

Blake Loates and her husband, who found the cap, were understandable shocked. It hit home especially hard since Loates has a sister with cerebral palsy and autism, and was horrified at the idea that her sister could have gotten the unpleasant bottle cap instead.

When Loates complained to Coca-Cola, the whole promotion was brought to a grinding halt. Shannon Denny, director of brand communications for Coca-Cola Refreshment Canada, put it this way to ABC News:

We have spoken to the family to offer our sincerest apologies and to explain the production process to them. This is certainly not an excuse in any way for what has occurred. We wanted them to know that this was in no way intentional and was a mistake on our part during the review process. We also wanted to share that the promotion has since been cancelled and we are no longer producing bottles with those caps.

It's about the best response you could hope for, but it's still shitty that it happened at all. Oh and really? Just random chance? Or maybe some dumb punk got access to a computer he shouldn't have, but whatever you say Coca-Cola. Whatever you say. [Canadian Press via ABC News via Death and Taxes]

Image: Blake Loates/Facebook



Karma has a way of visiting itself on folks that are insensitive. Before having a son with autism, I frequently used the word Retard. Coke did the right thing. It's a small thing, but if we can remove that word from casual use, it will positively affect how society views those with developmental disabilities, and that can't be a bad thing, can it?