Over the weekend the internet was filled with several lashes for H&M, a world renown street fashion chain, for an advert which featured a black kid-model putting on a H&M green hoodie with the words ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ inscribed on it.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
In a society like ours where people are sensitive to things and sensitivity could either be invoked through signs, symbols or gestures it is somewhat surprising that the creatives at H&M didn’t think through their advert and the picture they were creating especially in the minds of the black community.
H & M (Horrible Merchandise)…. We Got Some 4 Y’all Monkey Azz Doe….🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/cdrJhc4vJN
— Plies (@plies) January 9, 2018
Although H&M is now suffering multiple hard-core lashes from the internet, alongside recent celebrity disassociation and responses; how would they benefit from this unintentional blunder?
Branding comes along it special strategies to either boost sales or pimp the brand more further, and as expected, the brand issues an apology based on its error but still goes on to sell the product. Although the sensitive community will reject the brand, but then opinions and mind-set differs; while one square rejects the brand, the other embraces it because it poses no threat to their wellbeing and doesn’t affect their societal standards, so to them it becomes a normal brand whose market they have to patronize. This is the case with the H&M advert if it is indeed a deliberate market ploy.
Imagine if the general audience had ignored the advert? The marketing volume would have spoken less and the brand becomes automatically boycotted. In a society like America where everyone is sensitive to issues with high note to personal difference, where the black man doesn’t want to be reminded he is black and where a transgender does not want to be reminded he has been something else before what he is, issues like this causes a ray of anger in the society and with tongues waggling, the brand becomes more known and other proportion of people will patronize the lashed product. Let’s face it, America likes racism…no matter how much they cover it up, there is this sensitive feel that one quarter is higher than the other, and that will be the case…if it was a deliberate market ploy.
But if not, H&M will make tabloids, make money for the media and have to deal with having their brand name everywhere on the internet.
Either ways, it is all part of the marketing Colosseum.