H & M’s MARKETING BLUNDER
H & M is currently making the headlines for the wrong reason and it’s all over the internet. The company released an ad featuring hooded sweatshirts worn by a black kid and a white kid (See photo above). Internet users (including me) however found the inscription, ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ on the green sweatshirt worn by the black child offensive.
In this era when outcry against racism and racial discrimination is at its peak, one would think brands would learn to trade carefully when communicating to the public and costumers, but apparently, they seem to be nonchalant; We keep seeing these racially-insulting adverts. H & M is a retail giant with costumers from around the world and should not be found in such marketing mishaps.
The word ‘Monkey’ (or Ape) has been used to describe a black person and this has never gone down well and accepted by people of the black race; H & M knows this but still went ahead to use it. If the high street clothing retailer so wanted to use the word, a better approach would be to equally use it on the other shirt, hence reading ‘…Survival Monkey’ (and then changing the animal print on it to a Monkey).
In lieu of the recent development, Canadian singer, The Weeknd has pulled out of his partnership with H & M. The Grammy winner said on Twitter while posting the image of the black boy modeling the green sweatshirt – “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
The internet has also reacted and still reacting with counter images.
H & M has since pulled down the ad but still has the sweatshirt on its online store.
In the past, the company was accused of not using black models in its marketing images by a Twitter user, and their response to it was equally insulting – “H&M has a major impact and it’s essential for us to convey a positive message”, they responded.
Now, they have finally decided to use a black model but in a bad light. Is Hennes and Mauritz (H & M) a racist company? Its actions are pointing to that direction.