Quote of the Moment
"Those who say it can't be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it."
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It’s happened, yet again, another tone-deaf advertisement has graced the internet. This time the culprit is H&M. The internet is already full of think pieces on why this particular image is problematic so I won't go into it here. What I do want to discuss is why H&M, Dove, and other brands continue to produce advertisements and imagery that lack cultural awareness.
The answer is simple, the people sitting at the marketing table are not only whiter than the snow that covered the East Coast this week, they are also overwhelmingly male and straight. Furthermore, their social circle is just as white, male, and straight as they are. Meaning they rarely, if ever, encounter the voices of people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQA+ community. This lack of diversity in the marketing huddle leads to the absurdity we see in their advertisements and imagery.
This does NOT excuse the tone-deaf ignorance that gets pushed out of marketing departments every single day. It’s 2018, we all know that we need diversity at the table in order to combat our own prejudices and biases.
Brands that seek to still be viable in our evolving society must break free from their outdated, insulated, marketing practices and bring in diverse voices to give feedback and ensure the advertisements and imagery that leave the huddle are reflective and respectful of the richly diverse landscape in our society.
If you’re not sure where to start, I’m available to point out all the ways you’re doing it wrong and help you get it right! Don’t be the next H&M or Dove, there’s no excuse for it.