What's the deal with Duncan Hines's new "Hip Hop Cupcakes" ad? The baking company kicked off a YouTube campaign for its "Amazing Glazes" frosting this week with a controversial music video featuring chocolate-frosted cupcakes sprouting eyes and mouths and harmonizing. As Maddie Oatman at Mother Jones observed Thursday, the ad seemed to backfire as many outraged bloggers at sites such as Racialicious and Womanist Musings accused the cupcakes of being racist--their large pink lips and bug eyes set against dark chocolate frosting evoking the image of black face.
Others questioned the ad's title, "Hip Hop Cupcakes," observing that whatever style of music the cupcakes were producing, it definitely wasn't hip hop. "Chocolate glaze makes the cupcakes rap-stars," inferred a blogger at The Source who explained:
If the icing was in different flavors, or the lips weren't so big and pink we could give the ad a pass, but as it stands it's a pretty poorly constructed and potentially racist ad I'm the last person to be overly sensitive to media images, but the frothy mix of chocolate skinned cupcakes, bad Hip-Hop and a long media history of depicting stereotypical black people to sell food give me reason to question the intent if not the effect of this ad.
As of today Duncan Hines has removed the ad, so unfortunately those who haven't had the pleasure (confusion?) of watching won't be able to judge for themselves. Below, however, is the screen shot featuring the controversial cupcakes.
Update: Eater has managed to keep the video alive. Click here to watch.