(CNN) - A Japanese cell phone company has pulled one of its television ads that used a monkey that appears to portray Sen. Barack Obama.
The commercial opens with a crowd rallying behind a well-dressed monkey speaking from a podium. The supporters are cheering and waving signs that say “Change.” In the ad, the monkey was encouraging users to change providers.
Watch: Cell phone company pulls ad
The company behind the ad, eMobile Ltd., insists it had no idea of any racial undertones and says the ad was just a nod at Obama’s worldwide popularity.
Eric Gan, president of eMobile, points out that their company’s mascot is a monkey – an animal revered in Japan - and has been used in previous ads.
“When we saw the idea for the first time, it was ‘Hey, you're copying the idea from the presidential election in the U.S.’ Yes, but, you know, that's how you make a presentation. How you make an impact. We thought it quite was interesting,” he said.
Bloggers immediately voiced their disapproval of the ad and accused the company of being racist.
Gan says the company was unaware of how the ad might be interpreted, but “now, of course, we know.”