Coca-Cola has had a rough go of it recently, with Gawker poking an enormous hole in its #MakeItHappy social media campaign.
Now the Atlanta-based company has again fallen face first into controversy with an advertisement promoting its Fanta beverage in the drink’s origin country of Germany. The spot, which can be viewed above, promotes Fanta’s 75-year anniversary, coupled with a limited-edition run of Fanta made with its O.G. recipe. Celebrating that milestone would be great, if only 75 years ago didn’t coincide with World War II and Nazi rule.
The contention with the clip mainly concerns the beginning, which promotes Fanta’s invention. In English, the dialogue roughly translates to:
However, Fanta’s invention wasn’t nearly so cheery. Supplies of Coca-Cola syrup were near-impossible to get to the company’s German bottling plant, so Fanta was born as a last resort. Viewers—especially those in Germany where law still prohibits any mention of National Socialist iconography—were pissed.
U.K. publication The Express mentions Coca-Cola’s response:
She added: “Fanta was invented in Germany during the Second World War but the 75-year-old brand had no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party.”
But it’s been rumored for decades that the Nazis had some influence with the beverage. Slate published an article in 2010 that straight-up called Fanta “a Nazi product,” and draws upon Max Pendergrast’s book on the history of Coca-Cola to make the statement:
Even if the company meant no harm, celebrating a drink developed during Nazi rule requires some god-level finessing. The best tact, though? Going a completely different route with your campaign that has no Nazi associations.