Cancel culture or offensive marketing? Brands from Coon to Coco Pops accused of racial insensitivity

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Less than three weeks have passed since the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody, which sparked global protests calling for an end to racial injustice.

In that time, a raft of major brands including L’Oreal and Adidas have been accused of racist behaviour, ranging from discriminatory hiring practices, to lack of diversity in marketing campaigns, to unequal treatment of people in their stores.

Abas Mirzaei, a senior lecturer in marketing at Macquarie University said expecting a company to drop a brand name overnight is unrealistic and starting a new brand from scratch could put brand trust at risk.

“While it is a good time to reflect on branding and communication practices, to make sure a brand’s direct and indirect communications isn’t out of sync with the general public’s values, it is important to understand that brand names won’t become iconic over night, thus changing a name over night isn’t the solution,” Mirzaei told Inside FMCG.

“We have had several companies, even with strong financial support, that have failed to launch a new brand successfully.”

Mirzaei suggested that brands turn the challenge into an opportunity to signal they’re woke, and dedicate efforts to combat an issue.

“Instead of dropping brand names all together, it may be more beneficial to adjust names, or more importantly, come up with new taglines and slogans that are more effective as they can be used to adjust the negative connotation associated with the old name,” he said.

“Replacing the name is a passive approach and won’t have any impact on society nor will it impact those affected.”

Period17 Jun 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleCancel culture or offensive marketing? Brands from Coon to Coco Pops accused of racial insensitivity
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletInside FMCG
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date17/06/20
    DescriptionMany consumers have also come out in support of the brands, calling for an end to ‘cancel culture’.

    Abas Mirzaei, a senior lecturer in marketing at Macquarie University said expecting a company to drop a brand name overnight is unrealistic and starting a new brand from scratch could put brand trust at risk.

    “While it is a good time to reflect on branding and communication practices, to make sure a brand’s direct and indirect communications isn’t out of sync with the general public’s values, it is important to understand that brand names won’t become iconic over night, thus changing a name over night isn’t the solution,” Mirzaei told Inside FMCG.

    “We have had several companies, even with strong financial support, that have failed to launch a new brand successfully.”

    Mirzaei suggested that brands turn the challenge into an opportunity to signal they’re woke, and dedicate efforts to combat an issue.

    “Instead of dropping brand names all together, it may be more beneficial to adjust names, or more importantly, come up with new taglines and slogans that are more effective as they can be used to adjust the negative connotation associated with the old name,” he said.

    “Replacing the name is a passive approach and won’t have any impact on society nor will it impact those affected.”
    Producer/AuthorRuth Hogan
    URLhttps://insidefmcg.com.au/2020/06/17/cancel-culture-or-offensive-marketing-brands-from-coon-to-coco-pops-accused-of-racial-insensitivity/
    PersonsAbas Mirzaei