Shop workers at outlets of Raddatz bakery, which is based in Saxony, have faced furious customers. Posters featuring the baby next to a selection of chocolate cakes and brown bread have been torn up.
“Something went wrong with this offer, but despite this, one doesn't have to criticise shop workers or destroy posters,” said Christoph Raddatzt, the company's lawyer.
The posters have a photo of the baby next to chocolate-vanilla slices, chocolate and lemon cake slices and wholemeal bread which were on special last week.
The text says: “Only while stocks last. Subject to changes and errors. Image is only a serving suggestion.”
Raddatz said the number of visits to the company's website has increased by 300 percent since talk began about the advert.
“Many people are shocked that we advertise with a black girl for chocolate cake,” he said, admitting that the attention it had attracted had not been planned.
A statement under his name on the company website was unapologetic. It says that as well as the 580 staff in Germany, the company has 50 staff in Namibia.
“The child which you see on the adverts is the little Sofiyha, whose mother Lina and father Timotheus are our staff. Because our connection with the people who work with us is very important and we are one of the most fecund companies of the region (an average of 17 births per year), the staff often make photos of their children, or the staff themselves, available for our weekly offers.”
It says these photos are then used for adverts or on the side of delivery trucks with the aim of attracting attention, which it says is generally positive. “Sadly there is in Germany a small group of over-sensitive fellow men who accuse us of spreading racist thinking. This is expressly not the case,” the statement says.