Servcorp apologises over wombat ad

Servcorp apologises over wombat ad
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

PETALING JAYA - In a bid to prevent further misunderstanding over the use of a wombat in its digital advertisement in Kuala Lumpur, Australian-based company Servcorp has apologised.

On Facebook, it extended its apologies for any confusion due to the use of the wombat, which some had mistaken for a pig.

"Servcorp is an Australian company and uses the wombat as its company mascot - the wombat itself is a small furry bear-like animal that belongs to the koala family and is native to Australia.

"It would seem that some people mistook the wombat for a pig and during the holy month of Ramadan, this might lead to some sensitivities," said Servcorp.

As an international business, it said it was not its intention to offend any race or religion, adding that there were no prior issues with the use of the mascot, including at its offices in the Middle East.

On Sunday, City Hall had confirmed the removal of the digital advertisement at Jalan Bukit Bintang. Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib, however, agreed that the animal in the advertisement was a wombat.

Wombats are marsupials like kangaroos, wallabies and koalas.

Servcop's wombat is normally depicted wearing a hat with a cream-coloured coat and brown pants in the advertisement and even has a name: Sidney.

Sidney has been touted by Servcorp as the "world's wisest wombat" and it even has its own Facebook page as well as website.

There was public uproar on social media after a screenshot of the advertisement went viral with the description that it was a "pig wearing a songkok and baju Melayu while accompanied by a Selamat Hari Raya greeting".

Facebook user Sithaletchemy Krishnaiyer said since the wombat was not a native Malaysian species, other local animals could have been used in the advertisement.

"But I'm wondering why you must quickly pander to a few people's ignorance and remove the advert? Take the opportunity to educate the ignorant few about the wombat!" she said.

Another user, Ili Nawwar Aris, said she was embarrassed by the incident and even apologised to the company.

"Some of us are just ignorant. We have such a long way to go," she said.

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