HSBC in race row over Sumo ad

LONDON - HSBC, which uses the strapline 'the world's local bank', has been accused of cultural insensitivity after the "sumo wrestler" in its latest ad campaign was unmasked as an overweight white man called Brian.

HSBC ad...row over Sumo wrestler
HSBC ad...row over Sumo wrestler

Members of Britain's Japanese community have accused HSBC and its agency 141 Worldwide, of darkening the actor's skintone and using make-up to make his eyes appear narrow.

The actor, known only as Brian, is also wearing a Japanese-style wig and a traditional mawashi belt.

A spokesman for HSBC said the only make-up that was used in the shoot was standard photography make-up and was not intended to alter the model's ethnic appearance.

The controversy follows a public outcry after the Spanish Olympic basketball team appeared in a newspaper ad making "slant-eyed" gestures by pulling the skin back at the sides of their eyes.

A few days later, photographs of the Argentinian women's football team pulling the same pose also appeared on the internet.