Is Your Ad Racially Insensitive? Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Missteps by Gap, Dove and H&M

Is Your Ad Racially Insensitive? What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Missteps by Gap, Dove and H&M.

Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from corporate advertising mistakes.

As the heads of households, Latina and Black women have a combined spending power that will soon reach over $3 billion.  Brands are eager to cater to this demographic, but they have made some fatal mistakes.

For example, GAP apologized for an ad where a young Black girl posed next to an older White girl who propped her arm on the younger girl’s head.

Also, in 2017 Dove apologized for an ad featuring a Black woman removing a dark brown t-shirt, revealing a White woman underneath.

Finally, H&M received backlash for an ad featuring a Black child modeling a sweatshirt that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

Hire a Diverse Marketing Team

Popular brands are comprised of products manufactured by a company.  Unilever is the company that manufactures Dove.  Each brand has a manager who owns the branding process.

Brand managers analyze consumer data and create strategies.  Once brand strategies are created, a brand manager implements marketing activities, and is responsible for increasing market share.

Large global brands are typically led by mostly White brand managers.  This stands in contrast to the non-White consumer.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the Americans employed in advertising and communications, only 4.1% are black and 12.3% are Hispanic or Latino. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat18.htm

Generational shifts in consumer background also widen the divide between brand managers and minority consumers.

Hire a Diverse Marketing Team… And Empower Them

Many businesses are turning to diverse freelancers and multicultural agencies for support in appealing to Black and Latina consumers.

The mistakes of Dove, H&M, and GAP illustrate why minority women should have more marketing team positions.

Unfortunately when Black women on creative teams choose to speak up they are viewed as angry and defensive.  Black women are least likely to be given challenging positions which could give them opportunities to advance.

Hire a Diverse Marketing Team… And Respect Their Candor 

Generally, women of color said that their managers called their candor “uncomfortable.”  However, in the advertising industry, candor should be praised.

Chicago marketing firm Burrell Communications has not been afraid to be candid with their clients.  They are one of the largest multicultural marketing firms in the world.  Burrell Communications has seen an increase in the amount of apologies issued from small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and the like.  Their co-CEO states that there appears to be a lack of willingness to engage ethnic or multicultural agencies, despite their success.

Ultimately, Christine asserts that companies will pay financially for alienating Black consumers.  From these mistakes, millennial entrepreneurs can pave the new way forward.

The full article on Entrepreneur’s website: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/310153

More from Christine Michel Carter: https://christinemichelcarter.com/

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