South Korea’s largest dairy brand, Seoul Milk, has issued an apology for an advertisement that was criticized for seemingly comparing women to cows and showing a man secretly filming them. The ad drew comparisons “molka” crimes which are acts associated with the illegal filming of women without their consent.
In the now pulled advertisement uploaded to the company’s official YouTube channel, a male hiker in the mountains stumbles upon a group of women and men dressed in all white practicing yoga while one of the women sensually drinks water dripping from a leaf.
While the hiker secretly films the gathering, he accidentally steps on a branch which startles the group ― they all look up at him and suddenly turn into dairy cows.
According to a translation, the ad opens saying: “We finally succeeded in capturing them on camera at a pristine place where nature is preserved in its pureness.”
“They drink clean water from pure nature, insist on an eco-friendly organic diet, and live peacefully in a pleasant environment. I will try to approach them cautiously…”
The ad wraps up by saying: “Clean water, organic feed, 100% pure Seoul Milk. Organic milk from an organic ranch in the pleasant nature of Cheongjang.”
Following its release the ad drew harsh criticism online with people saying it deliberately compares women to cows, and that the scene of the hiker secretly filming them is suggestive of an illegal filming crime which has been an ongoing problem in the country.
According to the Korea Times, one user wrote, “the man is illegally taking photos of women, and the women turning into cows. This advertisement has too many problems. It’s disgusting.”
Another said: “The person who created the advertisement and the person who gave permission to release it all lack gender sensitivity.”
Seoul Milk apologizes
After removing the ad from its social media channels on Dec. 8, Seoul Milk issued an apology on their website reports NextShark:
“We sincerely apologize to everyone who felt uncomfortable seeing our milk advertising video uploaded on Seoul Milk’s official YouTube channel, Nov. 29,” the company wrote. “We are taking the matter seriously and will take more careful measures to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future. We once again bow our heads and apologize to all consumers who felt uncomfortable with this advertisement.”