Tuesday, January 16

H&M’s Hoodie Ignites Outrage

At first I wasn't going to write about this debacle because I honestly didn't want to give it any ink. It troubled me so much that I literally didn't even want to write about it. I kept going back and forth in my mind on how it could have happened, if it was done purposefully, or if it was a mistake made by someone who just had no idea that it was offensive.

I kept asking myself, “But how could something like THIS happen?”

If you don't know the details, the fashion retailer H&M ran an ad in the UK with this image:

Social media lit up almost instantly, and H&M quickly apologized and pulled the ad. Their response was quite quick and gracious, but in no way explained the whats or the whys. 

Why I have ultimately decided to write about this is what has been continually happening as the anger continues to mount against H&M. Racks of clothing have been turned over and protestors have gathered in front of the stores in massive amounts. So much so that in South Africa, the company had to close all of its stores. And in what is becoming a bit more common, politics and the government are voicing their views...the Opposition Party has made this issue one of their major statements. 

Governments affecting brands and vice versa. People voicing their views and holding brands accountable. The effects of a brand’s marketing having negative impact on the brand's business.

This is what happens now if a brand isn't extremely careful and conscious of its actions. And we all need to learn from it.

And we have to keep asking, “But how could THIS happen?” We need to learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again.

What's your experience? JIM

1 comment:

  1. My experience is that those offended on the more conservative side of the ledger don't commonly resort to physical violence, assaults, and generally abusive behaviour. They just stop purchasing the product.
    This has occurred with many many brands - the most obvious is NFL.
    Just because the media chooses not to report it, or you don't see it because you agree with the themes of the advertising - doesn't mean it isn't happening.
    Our social bifurcation is very obviously extending to brands. The NYC advertising guys don't see it due to shared common POV and frankly denial.
    The general themes of much of these "socially influential/positioning" advertising are many times 180 degrees from the positions of their target customers.
    For example - a "2 gay dads" theme for some product may gain accolades and backslaps in NYC - but married White Moms are 60% for Trump.
    Ignoring people turning off NFL is whistling past the graveyard. The "Deplorables" are quite aware of the messaging, even if NYC advertising wants to pretend they aren't.