Baskin Robbins Korea withdraws commercial starring 11-year-old model after online backlash

A new commercial for Baskin Robbins from Korea found itself at the centre of a controversy, after it was accused of sexualising its 11-year old model Ella Gross.

The commercial for Baskin Robbins Korea’s July flavour of the month, Pink Star, featured shots of Gross, who has a 3.2 million strong following on Instagram, interspersed with images of the ice cream and its ingredients. The campaign was set to run on cable television and YouTube according to an announcement on the Baskin Robbins website.

However, it aroused the ire of several online commentators who alleged the ad featured overtly sexualised imagery and insisted it be taken off air. They were countered by other commentators who believed there was nothing objectionable in the commercial.

With the news of the controversy travelling overseas, Baskin Robbins apologised and withdrew the ad. The apology which allegedly generated a further wave of adverse feedback was subsequently taken down according to a report in the Korea Times.

Baskin Robbins found an ally in Gross’s mother who took to the young model’s Instagram account – which she manages – to lash out at critics of the campaign. She said: “I’m saddened to see how certain segments of the Korean public reacted to this commercial. What was honestly meant to be a fun commercial for a new ice cream flavour is being perceived by them as something disgusting and horrific.

“To those that are rallying against the Baskin Robbins commercial, stop saying that you are doing this ‘for Ella.’ She is surrounded and loved by many strong and powerful women who wholeheartedly have her best interests at heart and who are confused and angered by your hurtful and negative reactions to a beautiful child.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing