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Brad Pitt spot for Toyota banned in Malaysia

HONG KONG - An advertising campaign for Toyota starring Brad Pitt has been banned in Malaysia because the government has deemed it to be an insult to Asians.

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The content of the ad itself is not the problem and it is not that which has offended the sensitive Malaysian government. It is simply the fact that a Caucasian face is being used and not an Asian one. According to reports, the Malaysian deputy information minister Zainuddin Maidin has said that the ad would "plant a sense of inferiority among Asians".

"Why must we use their faces in our advertisements? Aren't our own people handsome enough?" he said.

The campaign for Toyota's Altis model ran in newspapers and on television earlier this year in several Asian countries, and featured the chiselled jawline of Pitt, star of films such as 'Fight Club' and 'Se7en'. He has also appeared in ads for jeans and coffee.

It is not unknown for Hollywood stars and other celebrities to appear in ads in countries outside the US, as long as the companies agree never to show the ads at home. Other stars to appear in such ads have included Harrison Ford, who appeared bare-chested and sweaty in an ad for Kirin beer; and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has used his hard-man image to advertise noodles.

Last week, Brand Repbulic reported that David Beckham had signed a lucrative deal to advertise costmetic products in Japan.

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