It’s 2017: Why are Bad Ads still so prevalent?
Nia Hampton | Monday May 1st 2017
So by now you should know that Pepsi and Shea Moisture are canceled. If you don’t know, now you know. Pepsi in all of it’s marketing genius, framed Kendall Jenner as a movement leader and effectively commercialized and diminished the very real Black Lives Matter movement, in their latest advertisement. The backlash was epic and the spot was quickly pulled. Flash forward a few weeks and natural hair care product giant and pioneer, Shea Moisture was next up on the chopping block. This incident was perhaps more insidious because everyone knows Pepsi is a large corporation that cares about nothing but money. But Shea Moisture had a long and solid legacy in the natural hair movement. It’s genuinely loved. The latest commercial in it’s #HairHate Campaign centered on a really light skinned woman with loose wavy curls and two white women talking about their experiences with “Hair Hate”. There were no other women featured. This commercial was like #whitewomentears personified. Many black women with coarser hair textures and darker skin felt they were being ignored by a brand they practically built. Shea Moisture followed up with a strange apology where they refused to even mention black women, instead calling their core demographic WOC. They also launched a Buy One Get One sale. Later in this same week, the ad team for Shea Moisture would be revealed to be majority white women.
And therein lies the problem with advertising, even in 2017. The people selling a product to a targeted demographic seem to know nothing about their audience. But how is this even practical in 2017 where you literally cannot escape black culture. From social media to TV and Film to our former president, it’s not hard to find out what #TheBlacks are up to. Just literally go and google a hashtag. In Pepsi’s case, I think this is a company that’s so large and so used to setting the trends that they may not have realized that things are different now, thanks to the powerful communication tool that is the internet. Shea Moisture’s mistake is a little harder to understand as it’s a black owned company and black people tend to be harder on their own. I’m still wondering why the director of advertising is a white woman when there are so many black women who could have filled the role? Why is the advertising world still so hesitant to hire black women? The short answer is racism. As illogical as it is, the world still seems to not trust black women even though it’s been proven time and time again that this demographic is more than able to get nearly any job done. But that’s fine, major corporations and brands will continue to lose money by shitting on a demographic with serious buying power.