Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Brazilian company slammed for ‘Black is Beautiful’ campaign

Some marketing slogans shouldn’t go beyond an agency’s boardroom.

Brazilian company Santher gave PR and marketing pros a recent example after it faced backlash for a campaign highlighting its luxury black toilet paper.

Carbonated.TV reported:

The company released a Personal VIP Black toilet paper ad featuring Brazilian actress Marina Ruy Barbosa — who is white-skinned, green-eyed and a redhead — wrapped up in nothing but swaths of the dark-colored paper.

The image was accompanied by the campaign’s tagline: “Black is beautiful.”

The Root reported:

“Black is beautiful” became a popular slogan in the late ’60s and early ’70s during the Black Power movement, defined by the rise of leaders like Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis and groups like the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.

The goal of the grassroots beauty campaign was to dispel the notion that black people’s natural features—nose size, hair texture and skin color—weren’t beautiful. Black women jettisoned their perms for Afros. Black men grew their hair into even bigger Afros. This focus on black being physically beautiful extended deep into American culture; blacks began to demand visual representation of themselves and their culture in marketing, television and movies.

Across social media, consumers lashed out at the company and the Neogama agency, which came up with the slogan. Writer Anderson Franca took the company to task in a Facebook post, which has received more than 4,800 “likes” and nearly 2,900 shares: reported:

The post, which has been shared thousands of times, called Santher's campaign "racist and irresponsible, conscious and deliberate."

Franca pointed to the sad truth that anywhere in the world, a search for "Black is Beautiful" pulls up references to "Angela Davis, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Fela Kuti, James Baldwin, Nina Simone...", but in Brazil, it pulls up toilet paper.

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Santher removed the campaign and issued a statement on its website. Roughly translated, it reads:

In response to the repercussion of the slogan used in launching its newest product, Santher Paper Factory Santa Therezinha S/A, a national company in the market for 79 years, comes to the public to clarify that it never had any intention of provoking a racial discussion.
In fact, it was sought to emphasize the beauty and sophistication of the black color, considered iconic of style, luxury and refinement. In this way, the company announces that the slogan has already been withdrawn from the campaign, in addition to apologizing for the possible mistaken association of the phrase adopted to the black movement, which we both respect and admire.

The Neogama Agency also its deleted social media posts that referenced the campaign.

The incident follows a similar backlash that Dove recently faced after it launched an ad that many called racist.

PR and marketing pros can use the crisis as a reminder to double-check campaigns’ images and slogans for potentially offensive or insensitive references. It also highlights the importance of having a diverse team with a multitude of viewpoints and backgrounds.

The Root reported:

When shown the Brazilian advertisement, black American marketing executive Denitria Lewis said she was shocked that anyone had approved it.

“It seems very ill thought-out,” said Lewis, who is a senior media strategist focusing on multicultural campaigns. “They also shouldn’t have used the phrase because it is about the reclamation of our unique beauty despite society’s constant diminishing. They are juxtaposing black beauty with bodily waste.”

What do you think of the campaign and company’s response, PR Daily readers?

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from PR Daily News Feed

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