February 6, 2008

SalesGenie Apologizes For Super Bowl XLII Commercials Deemed Offensive

The sponsor of two commercials during Super Bowl XLII for Salesgenie.com, which drew complaints from viewers because of the characters’ ethnic accents, says he is sorry and promises to stop running one of them.

Vinod Gupta, the chairman and chief executive of InfoUSA in Omaha, the parent of Salesgenie.com, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that a commercial featuring two animated pandas speaking with what were intended as Chinese accents would be withdrawn.

We never thought anyone would be offended,” said Mr. Gupta, who developed and wrote both commercials himself.

"The pandas are Chinese,” he said. “They don’t speak German.”

Still, “if I offended anybody,” Mr. Gupta said, “believe me, I apologize.”

Mr. Gupta said he planned to keep running the other Salesgenie commercial, featuring an animated salesman named Ramesh who speaks with an Indian or other South Asian accent.

Watch The Controversial Commercials

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