Two Asian-American groups are asking Continental Airlines to halt an advertising campaign that depicts a samurai warrior slashing air fares and declaring in broken English, "Now everybody happy."
"We are shocked that such an ad would be used by your company," said Chinese for Affirmative Action.
In a letter to the Houston-based airline, the group said: "Such a deplorable racist action is inexcusable (and) would certainly dissuade the Asian community from flying Continental."
The groups are asking Continental to discontinue the ad, which depicts a Caucasian actor dressed as the samurai warrior, and has appeared in newspapers and on television for about one month.
A Continental spokesman said the company does not plan to stop the ad campaign, which is scheduled to end in about two weeks. Continental did not intend for the ads to be offensive, and they were reviewed by a group of advertising executives that included Japanese-Americans, the spokesman said.
The ad was created by the Houston office of N. W. Ayer. Allen Brivic, an ad director at the agency, said the campaign was based on a samurai character made famous by the late actor John Belushi on television's "Saturday Night Live."
"It wasn't particularly creative, but we wanted to be dramatic about showing price cuts," Brivic said.