When advertising is done right, it gives you all the feels and inspires you to do something, anything, that you otherwise wouldn't have done. The influence it incites could be as simple as you choosing a cheeseburger at lunch or it could plant a seed that will ultimately lead you toward making a major change in your life.
A cheesy Foldger's coffee commercial makes you call your mom. A commercial for a rehabilitation center leads an alcoholic to make a phone call. A Kay's Valentine's Day Commercial makes you realize your boyfriend is a dick and you decide to leave him. An insurance commercial turned humanitarian musical sticks in your mind and when you see your elderly neighbor struggling with her groceries later that day, you run over to help. Call them small things, but advertising can be powerful.
When advertising completely misses the mark it can also inspire you to do something that you otherwise wouldn't have done. Like, punch your television. Or never patronize a brand or company again. It can remind you that we live in a flawed society that still has work to do. Whether it's due to lack of awareness, ignorance, or straight up racism, advertising can both reveal and perpetuate the deeply-rooted flaws in our society.
Without saying it out loud, these advertisements manage to say it all, and show us exactly how far we have to go.
Pepsi attempts to solve the history of America's problems but just pisses everyone off instead.Pepsi's commercial starring Kardashian sister and supermodel, Kendall Jenner, aimed to promote peace during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, but instead, the company grossly demeaned and trivialized the complex and deep-rooted issues that the movement seeks to shed light on.
The Pepsi ad wasn't just tone-deaf. It was deaf, dumb, and blind.Pepsi's ad suggested to many viewers that decades of racism and police brutality could be cured by a pretty girl handing a cop a beverage. The meant-to-be feel-good ad didn't just fail to capture the depth of current cultural dynamics; it perpetuated the problem. Putting a bow on it don't make it pretty, Pepsi. To the contrary, it undermines the blood, sweat, and tears of those fighting for real solutions to our real problems.
Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner hides in her room.
via: Getty ImagesThere was an uncomfortable moment of silence from Kendall Jenner amidst the controversy. While Americans were passionately debating Pepsi's epic downplaying of our seriously flawed culture on social media, Kendall was MIA. Not only did Kendall fail to take a stance on the heated issue, she didn't publicly acknowledge the controversy at all. That's not awkward.
Pepsi originally defends their ad amidst backlash.
Pepsi CEO defends controversial Kendall Jenner ad: 'It was a peace march' https://t.co/SLOSdHWK58 https://t.co/Sz9gFQESGL— Business Insider (@Business Insider)1506016772.0
Pepsi finally pulls its head out of the sand and apologizes.
Pepsi apologizes, pulls Kendall Jenner ad after backlash https://t.co/IjBy6RZ9RW— FOX Cinemas (@FOX Cinemas)1491704600.0
Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.
Jenner finally speaks up too, but does she really get it?
Kendall Jenner finally spoke about ~that~ Pepsi ad in the latest "KUWTK" https://t.co/FslvYA1nk3 https://t.co/zwBbQa52tW— BuzzFeed UK (@BuzzFeed UK)1506949320.0
H&M sparks controversy with ad of a young black boy in "cutest monkey in the jungle" sweatshirt.
H&M will now have to invest huge amounts into an enormous campaign to change consumers perceptions. https://t.co/NnWdtbwplm— The Business of Fashion (@The Business of Fashion)1517769304.0
Both sides of the table speak up on H&M racism controversy.Some were quick to defend the ad, arguing that if you see something racially disparaging in the innocent image, you're actually the racist and your perspective is the problem.
via: Getty ImagesBut others were just a quick to fire back, arguing two points in response. First of all, if you don't see racial undertones, you're not looking. And secondly, by closing your eyes to the realities of racism in our country, you perpetuate it.
Talib Kweli breaks down what's really wrong with H&M's ad.Rapper Talib Kweli commented on the controversy in an interview with Variety:
Things like that happen because we don't understand the history of racism in the world and that's what leads people, in high positions, to be tone deaf. There's probably a lot of ignorant, mediocre motherf---ers at H&M with high positions. But because of the status quo of how racism works, they get put in these positions and so these people are not inherently malicious. They’re just racially ignorant about the history of racism in the world. The idea of black people being compared to monkeys and stuff, they're young white people they don't have to deal with that in their life at all.
The media uproar continues for weeks, prompting celebrities to speak out and affiliates to jump ship.
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm an… https://t.co/684367Ox9k— The Weeknd (@The Weeknd)1515439241.0
H&M responds to the backlash by pulling ad and apologizing for the misstep.
G-Eazy ends relationship with H&M in response to its 'disturbing' hoodie — as brand apologizes… https://t.co/tTRwlkhShG— PeopleStyle (@PeopleStyle)1515599648.0
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top. The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.
Despite H&M's damage control efforts, the outrage goes global as protests erupt in South Africa over the company's massive blunder.
via: Getty ImagesBacklash over the insensitive ad spread beyond social media and celebrity commentary, eventually leading to protests in South Africa. The protests escalated to riots as activists trashed stores in Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African Police Service issued an update regarding the ongoing incidents:
Several incidents of protests at H&M stores around the province have been reported. At the East Rand Mall the protesters managed to enter the shop & stole several items. #SAPS members had to intervene and dispersed the group of protesters by firing rubber bullets. SW
Ultimately, H&M hires Diversity Team to account for major losses.In response to the public outrage over their ad, H&M appoints a "global leader" to address "diversity and inclusiveness" within the brand and their messaging. While the company repeatedly apologized, they fell a bit short when it came to taking full accountability. The company stated, “We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image." Nothing to do with it? Hmm. This company really knows how to fuel the fire.
Dove shows its product transforming a black woman into a "clean" white woman in infuriating, mindboggling Ad.There are just no words. While Pepsi trivialized racism and H&M turned a blind eye to it, Dove seems to be just flat out promoting it. The reaction to Dove's controversial ad was interesting, as people seemed to go straight past anger and outrage into awe and utter disbelief.
On what planet is this Ad not racist?To think of the process this company went through to complete this ad is astounding. The pitching, storyboards, casting, wardrobe, and filming all apparently took place without any red flags being raised within the company.
Nivea leaves people speechless with ad slogan, "White is Purity."
Nivea pulls 'White Is Purity' Ad after racial insensitivity uproar ensues online! What are your thoughts? https://t.co/Qfg4F2mQ8H— Montage (@Montage)1492329908.0
Nivea's racist rap sheet began to circulate on social media.
Nivea went from pulling the "Re-civilize Yourself" ad to making a "White is Purity" ad 6 years later.. & no one rea… https://t.co/blLD4FnaEk— Keisha Ducree (@Keisha Ducree)1492052658.0
Yet Nivea does not seem to learn from their advertising mistakes, or perhaps, they weren't mistakes at all.Only a few months later, Nivea would begin promoting a product in Africa that "visibly lightens skin." The campaign featured former Miss Nigeria Omowunmi Akinnifesi who applies the product and, voila, "visibly lighter skin."
Nivea's bottom line is business.
Dear @niveauk @NIVEAUSA and all other #Nivea out there... This is not how to market in Africa. We didn't want 'FAI… https://t.co/AfAwlL12a9— FOLA (@FOLA)1508314806.0
Nivea responds to slew of racially controversial advertisements.
Nivea Joins the Backlash Bandwagon with Charges of a Racist Ad (Again) https://t.co/CseGhMy3C2 https://t.co/dxa7Slgilo— FRAN 🇬🇧 (@FRAN 🇬🇧)1508803235.0
We recognise the concerns raised by some consumers regarding a Nivea product communication in Ghana and take them very seriously. Our intention is never to offend our consumers. As a global company, Beiersdorf offers a wide range of products that are aimed to address the diverse skin care needs of our consumers around the world. We acknowledge every consumer’s right to choose products according to their personal preferences, and we are guided by that to provide them with high-quality skin care product choices.
In other words, profits prevail.
Nivea under fire for advertising product that 'visibly lightens' skin https://t.co/T7tOP93TSh https://t.co/JyGr11mGu6— HuffPost UK Style (@HuffPost UK Style)1508631252.0