Sprite’s ‘brutally refreshing’ ad sparks sexism row

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Sprite was accused of sexism in its advertising campaign
Sprite was accused of sexism in its advertising campaign

Related tags Script async src= Brand Advertising

Sprite’s latest advertising campaign sparked claims of sexism on social media, after the brand used slogans including ‘She’s seen more ceilings than Michelangelo’, and ‘You’re not popular, you’re eas’”.

The soft drink brand’s ‘#BrutallyRefreshing’ campaign came under criticism when it appeared on JOE.ie, a website claiming to be the ‘Voice of Irish Men’. The complaints prompted Coca-Cola, owner of Sprite, to apologise and remove the advert from circulation.

The campaign, launched in March, used slogans ‘A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2!’ and ‘One dip is never enough!’ to promote the Sprite brand.


Twitter users claimed the campaign was ‘misogynistic’, and not ‘#BrutallyRefreshing but only #BrutallyOffensive’.

The advertising campaign was pulled from circulation after the brand came under criticism.

A spokesman at Coca-Cola Ireland said: “We apologise for any offence caused by the #BrutallyRefreshing Sprite campaign in Ireland, and we have removed the advert in question. 

“We strive to deliver the highest standards of advertising, and we recognise that on this occasion the content did not meet our, or our consumers’, expectations. The campaign has now ended, and the advert will not appear again.”

‘Brutally refreshing truth’

On the campaign’s release, Coca-Cola said the advert was designed to “celebrate Irish humour and tell the brutally refreshing truth”​.

Speaking in March, Sprite brand manager Georgina Kendrick said: “For century after century, the Irish have mixed wisdom with wit – because when told well, the Irish believe nothing is funnier than the truth.

“At Sprite, we share the same belief that honesty is the best weapon, and we’re delighted to celebrate the brutally refreshing truth.”

sprite brutally refreshing ad
Campaign image for Sprite's '#BrutallyRefreshing'

Meanwhile, editor of JOE.ie Paddy McKenna responded to complaints on Twitter: “Anyone who has read the site knows that this does not reflect JOE’s brand values. It shouldn’t have been there and it has since been removed.”

Do you think the campaign was a good idea? Take part in our survey below to test your opinion against those of FoodManufacture.co.uk’s 108,000 independently-audited unique monthly visitors.


Do you think the Sprite campaign was inspired or ill-advised?

  • Inspired; we are talking about it, aren’t we?

  • Ill-advised; a bad idea that reflected poorly on the brand.

  • Don’t know.


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1 comment


Posted by Lauren,

That this website needs a poll to determine whether or not people think this was a good idea is very depressing.

"You're not popular, you're easy #Brutally Refreshing."

It's not even like that's something that can be misconstrued as offensive. You don't need to be some kind of social justice warrior to see it's plainly sexist and backward.

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