Gringo Mask Campaign Hides Its Face

Some Didn't See Humor in Satirical Effort

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We'd been waiting for an agency-side account of Zubi's "Gringo Mask" effort in response to Arizona's recent immigration law. But Big Tent contributor Laura Martinez, a big fan of the campaign, tipped us to the fact that the effort seems to have gone bye-bye. She writes: "Yielding to criticisms by some gringos who didn't like Zubi using the word gringo to describe gringos, the agency this week pulled it off the Web, replacing it with an explanation of what the mask intended -- and didn't intend to do."

However, Joe Castro, exec-VP-integrated marketing for Zubi Advertising, said the experiment had for the most part run its course. "It was an experiment in social marketing. It was a limited-term project. . . . Once it got out there, the news was all over it. ... It was complete." He added that feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the negative responses weren't out of the ordinary for this particular subject. "We've seen a lot of intelligent discussion," he said.

For those who missed it, "Gringo Mask" allowed users to download a face of a, well, gringo, thus allowing anyone to walk safely around Arizona without getting busted. Obviously, that was meant to be satire. On a more serious note, the masks could be used in protests around the state. Still, judging by the post Zubi has put up in place of the gringo mask, a number of people took exception to use of the word gringo. A statement on the site reads: "We understand from your responses that some people might equate the word 'Gringo' with an ethnic slur. We do not. It is simply a slang term used to describe Caucasians, and we don't assign any negative connotations to it."

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