Before we launch into our recap of this week - it’s important to acknowledge that there are some great brands that have actively and positively looked to effect change and end racial inequality for some time now. Whilst the fashion industry has grappled with multiple issues of representation and diversity, brands that champion inclusivity, such as Rihanna’s Fenty are beginning to disrupt this industry and force necessary change. Similarly, Reebok currently runs one of the most diverse influence campaigns within the industry.
But it is fair to say that prior to recent events, many brands and businesses have shied away from political conversations. 2020 is seeing a change in the way businesses use their voice to stand up and speak out about racism. No doubt, going forward both brands and people might struggle to communicate about Black Lives Matter perfectly. But we can all agree that the only thing worse than getting it wrong is staying silent.
As a business, we constantly strive to be purpose-driven. Despite that pledge, the Black Lives Matter movement has made us sit up, reflect and examine both our agency and the industry we work in.
While it’s crucial we use our voice to express solidarity, words alone are not enough. As we often hold brands accountable, we must ensure we hold ourselves accountable too while also striving to do better. For this week’s Hits & Misses, we examine industries and brands that have acted authentically to drive change.
Ben & Jerry’s, screaming demand for justice
Ice cream is the heart of Ben & Jerry’s, but social justice is in its DNA. In 2019 Ben & Jerry’s launched Justice ReMix’d, a campaign that featured a select batch of flavours where all proceeds went to support criminal justice reform. This week, it continued to push for change in a public statement that called to "dismantle white supremacy".
Not only has Ben & Jerry’s used it’s brand to remind customers of its commitment to racial justice, but also followed up declarations aimed at the US Government requesting to denounce white supremacy groups that support Trump. Ben & Jerry’s is a prime example of a brand that both talks the talk and walks the walk.
These protests didn't come out of nowhere: They’re the result of hundreds of years of oppression of Black Americans, from slavery to Jim Crow to redlining to mass incarceration. We must understand our past to create a more just future. Learn more: https://t.co/HCIUZFVBDK pic.twitter.com/ScsXw7bbLR— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 10, 2020
A strong cuppa #Solidaritea
After one Yorkshire Tea customer congratulated the brand for not publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, Yorkshire Tea responded asking the customer to stop buying its products and stated it was taking time to educate the business before speaking out.
Please don't buy our tea again.— Yorkshire Tea (@YorkshireTea) June 8, 2020
We're taking some time to educate ourselves and plan proper action before we post. We stand against racism.
In the wake of this response, competitor PG Tips quickly made it clear that it too was standing in #Solidaritea with Yorkshire Tea against racism. A cascade of support from other leading tea companies followed showing that taking the time to respond results in more impactful messaging. No ‘knee-jerk’ reaction here!
MISS (THEN HIT)
Admitting fault and righting the ship
Adidas this week took accountability for its disingenuous post and silence in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
In an Instagram post, Adidas addressed its commitment to the black community, outlining clearly the actions it is taking to create real change, beginning with crediting the people who have made Adidas what it is today. The recognition and commitment to action was the authentic voice needed for this brand to demonstrate true alignment with the necessary change unfolding around us.
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