Microsoft and their Photoshop diversity policy

Microsoft and their Photoshop diversity policy

Summary: Microsoft have opened themselves up to ridicule after Photoshopping out an Caucasian man for one of their Polish sites, whilst leaving the original image of a Afro-Caribbean businessman on their US site. Finger pointing


Microsoft are once again showing their fantastic Photoshopping skills. Through producing two identical pages for their Business Productivity infrastructure, they copied and pasted (and translated) the US page to Polish, but in the process they Photoshopped a man of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity to a Caucasian businessman.

In my way of thinking, they could well have done this because the ethnic makeup of Poland is almost entirely Caucasian Polish citizens, so the image appeals more to the culture. But through this they have opened themselves up to ridicule and possibly accusations of discrimination.

Nevertheless, on a simple level we can at least laugh at this as one of Microsoft's more obvious and public cock-ups. And as Elliot Harrison of Neowin pointed out (as he is sat next to me at the time of writing; he is my best friend after all), they could have taken the effort to Photoshop the hand according to the corresponding skin tone.

You can visit the Microsoft US page and the Microsoft Poland page, and play a quick game of spot the difference.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Microsoft, Mobility

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  • Wow!

    Looking forward to hearing the PR claw back for this one. This is just in-excusable, regardless of local politics. It's not even well done!
    • I guess you better turn off your TV, don't read

      any magazines and don't look at billboards when you drive. It's called marketing and it's done all the time. You just don't see it because you don't have both billboards, or you don't watch the same channel at the same time or the shows that appeal. Jiminy cricket when targeting a specific audience marketing companies do this all the's scary the lack of business sense out there.
      • just think, all those publicists catering to peoples subcouncious, immoral!

  • World's shortest neck

    Could have lifted the head a bit higher.

    Also, not necessarily any sinister motive. When budgets are enormous, you pay for focus groups to determine the best bang for the buck. Could be that in Poland a black person might be rare in management, making the original ad less believable.
  • RE: Microsoft and their Photoshop diversity policy

    And your take Zack Whittaker is reprehensible, what MS di is demographically corect and by all acounts in Poland proper, your reaction over this nonissue is nothing more than a pathetic attempt at hits at the cost of Americans in general. You truly are a putz. Get a life.
    • Oh well

      An opinion's an opinion. I, as well as many others, believe they have acted highly inappropriately.
      • Only if they have no clue how business and advertising work...then

        your right, but ignorance is ignorance.
  • Ethnic cleansing

    These photoshopings for political reasons things come up from time to time. There was a city here in the Midwest that added a black guy to a brochure so they wouldn't look too white.

    Whatever, it's a really interesting commentary on our times.
    • Ethnic cleansing

      More of a commentary on technology, though I don't see anything interesting about any of this non-issue. If whomever had shot the original ad had to deliver a version to a place with different demographics, it would have been re-shot with demographically correct subjects. Now we have photoshop - cheaper to just replace the face and the result is exactly the same.

  • RE: Microsoft and their Photoshop diversity policy

    Microsoft has already changed the Polish picture back to the original one. But they forgot to enlarge the orange background box behind the text :).
  • don't see the problem

    Commercials are Taylored to a specific audience. Most commercials for baby food have a mother there. Most commercials for soccer have men. What's the problem dude?

    In the US, just to avoid being judged for discrimination, almost every commercial has an Asian, an African American, a Caucasian, and a Latin person on it. Sometimes it makes me sick. They just put all of them because they have to, no other reason.

    In Poland, people might be surprised if they see a commercial with an ethnic group that they don't encounter every day. It has nothing to do with discrimination or racism.

    Microsoft marketing did the right thing here. Don't know why this is news, except for the detail of the hand.
    • Kinda funny....

      You think its ok to show more white faces in Poland because that is what they are used to. And I agree that is fine. But then you say it makes you sick because in America they try to have a diverse set of faces on the commercials. Now is there some reason Americans shouldn't be able to see what they are used to but the Polish should?
      • I'll try again

        maybe I didn't explain myself correctly. I don't object that commercials in the US have a diverse set of faces. What makes me sick is that if for some reason they don't, they are considered discriminatory. Kind of "let's put all faces there not because is what we want, but rather to avoid rant later". Kind of what's happening now...

        And just to clarify something: the US is *not* synonym of America. This is true regardless of what they thought you in school.
    • It's just marketing people !

      I agree. They are simply tailoring their ad to their local clientele. Not everything is racism !
      • AMEN! Brother! - nt

    • I agree. We are beverage company and our

      ads are virtually the same, however, when we place the Ad in certain magazines or billboards and the audience for such, subscriptions and zip codes is of a certain ethnicity we change the people, but the slogan and setting stay the same. We also use models that are of obviously mixed decent and work in both adds and can be made lighter or darker depending on the location. That's not discrimination it's called marketing.

      • Decent models?

        [i]"We also use models that are of obviously mixed decent..."[/i]

        Does that mean that some models are more decent than others?

        Personally, I'd prefer to not have to work with the indecent ones.
        • Personally

          I would rather work exclusively with the indecent ones.
  • Did they keep the same hand???

    In the examples above it looks like they didn't bother lightening the man's hand in the Polish ad.

    I went to check the Polish and U.S. websites and it looks like they have changed it back to being the "man of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity" in both ads.
  • RE: Microsoft and their Photoshop diversity policy

    its been changed on the Polish website