And another brand bites the racially incentive dust. In case you missed it, Heineken’s new ad promoting their “lighter beer” was pulled after rapper Chance the Rapper called the ad racially incentive, igniting a firestorm of outrage via social media. In many of these cases; that are happening much to frequently might I add, I looked at the ad for myself and could see both sides of the coin. Heineken is just the lastest in a string of major brands that have been called out via social media for racially incentive marketing and have subsequently pulled them due to public pressure. In the last three months, Dove, H&M and now Heineken have all suffered major outlash from the public due to ads they felt were racist in nature.
When H&M suffered the same public outrage they quickly pulled the ad after many celebrities lobbied their followers to boycott. Lebron James, Jesse Williams and T.I. expressed their outrage and encouraging their followers to do the same. While singer The Weekend and rapper G-Eazy both pulled out of their collaboration with the retail giant. There was even a report of an H&M in South Africa that was trashed by protesters and resulted in the brand closing all the stores in that counrty of a period of time. For days, my Facebook and Instagram feed was flooded with family, friend and colleagues in the blogging community denouncing the ad and vowing to never shop with the retailer again. A few fellow bloggers even deleted Instagram post that were in collaboration with them as a sign of solidarity. And after about a week, crickets…well that de-escalated quickly! Slowly my family and friends moved on to other hot topics and my blogger colleagues not only went back posting their H&M pieces but tagging the brand in their post and showing off items they purchased from them after the PR nightmare in haul videos; mind you some of these are the same people who vowed to never shop with them again.
shop similar looks:
And here lies a few million dollar questions:
Are we quick to jump on the “boycott” bandwagon? I may be in the minority on this one, but I think we are. A perfect example is the Dove ad from earlier this year. What I saw being re-posted all over my social media feed was a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman and I have to admit, my blood boiled for a bit but I wanted to see the commercial sans all the social media commentary. After a quick Google search I saw the commercial in its entirety and immediately laughed! Is this what’s gotten Black Twitter so upset today?? I saw not a single thing racist about this and in a rare move took to my personal Facebook page to get others opinion on it. A few agreed, a few disagreed and one woman went on such a rant I had to block her! A portion of society called for the head of Dove on a stake based on a small part of the commercial, the five second part that would spark the most outrage. In this “Fake News” era, it’s a irresponsible thing to do. This brand was torn to shreds over something that was less of a racist ad and one that creativity missed the mark.
Are we too sensitive as a society? I think it’s misplaced. I feel we are overly sensitive to things that are miniscule and not sensitive enough to things that really matter. There are so many bigger fights I have to fight in this world and a less than quality checked ad is not one of them. With all this outrage, it’s makes me think who is working toward a solution? If you remember Revolve was hit with a bit of a PR nightmare themselves when the brand was called out for their lack of diversity on press trips. And while folks were ALL up in them comments; me included, a lot of bloggers took action. Many shared with their followers what WOC bloggers they love and should follow and one in particular created “You Belong Now“, a space where WOC and Plus Size bloggers are celebrated. Unlike the crickets of H&M’s past, I still see bloggers using their platform to share other bloggers who are not widely know but should be and there have been a number of features on the “You Belong Now” blog site. For me, if you gonna get mad only to ride the wave of mad and not use it to effect change, just don’t get mad at all.
How long do we refuse to support brands when we fell an offense has happened? I have no hard and fast answer to this question and I guess this would be up to the individual person. I know for me, after seeing the entire Dove commercial, I didn’t feel it was racist and took a shower with my creamy body wash later that morning. I don’t drink, so I guess you can say I’m leading the charge on boycotting Heineken lol and I’ve never been a huge H&M shopper but enjoy a peruse from time to time. I have to admit, I was pretty apprehensive on my first tip back last month while out shopping with my family. I even joked if it was ok to enter again and after my cousin counted the black people in the store she deemed it safe. For me I would have to feel extremely disrespected to never shop with a brand again and I can honestly say I’ve not gotten to that point yet. And since I’m a huge second hand shopper, when it comes to boycotting shopping with clothing brands directly, I “boycott” as a matter of how I prefer to shop. Here’s hoping the Goodwill don’t trip cause I would be assed out!
Are brands taking care to ensure they are being racially sensitive? It’s been debated major brands are purposely creating these ads in an effort to market their products. The thought is that after a huge PR nightmare store such as H&M will dramatically slash prices; they went as low as 80% back in January after the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” scandal. This will draw in a larger crowd of people, even ones who joined to boycott because the sale is too good to resit and seen as an effort the brand is making to smooth things over. Affinity write a really good article to this theory and Teen Vogue posted an article that speaks to beauty brands using the power of “Black Twitter” to put a spotlight on them. Beauty brands that may be falling by the waist side and use this type of attention; albeit bad, to get people talking about them again. While I’m still not sold on either theory, I can see the point.
Look brands will still create ads that we’ll have to look at them sideways for and if we boycott them all, what on earth would we wear. or drink or bathe with? I’m not at all saying excuse a brand for an ad that is offensive if you feel that way, but don’t ride the “boycott” wave just to come off it and hit up The Gap cause they slashed prices as a sorry! Be sure you do your research; ummmm not via Twitter ya’ll and come to your own conclusion about these issues. And if you feel strongly about what a brand has done, TAKE ACTION and be sure its more than a mean tweet or comment…but do that too lol!
P.S. Black Twitter ain’t nothing to play with lol!