Glacéau + Racist Voicemail Message

Glaceau Vitamin Water

My friend Reagan sent me an email last week about the voicemail message at Glacéau.

I placed the message in my “to blog about” pile:

Call this number: (718) 746-0087. It’s for Glaceau, maker of drinking water products (“Hydrate responsibly.”) On the other end, you’ll get their voicemail system, narrated by some dude with a horribly fake Asian accent, doing kung fu schtick.”

A beverage company in New York, Glacéau makes Vitamin Water, Fruit Water, and Smart Water. Apparently, Glacéau received enough complaints about their voicemail that they decided to change it. A member of a higher education association listserv received a response from a customer relations specialist from Glacéau:

We’re sorry to hear our outgoing message has offended you. Our intention with our message system (and all of our points of contact with consumers) is to communicate key information about our products and company in a light-hearted way. With that said, we have taken the negative
feedback about the message seriously and have replaced it with a new one. We welcome your feedback on the new version and hope you will continue to share your thoughts on the company and our products.

I missed hearing the live version of the voicemail. The new message was in place when I called. However, a friend of mine recorded the message. It’s unbelievable that a company would have such a racist, stereotypical caricature as their official voicemail message.

When did “light-hearted” become marketing speak for “racist caricature”?