Damaging ads - and brand image

By afaqs! news bureau, New Delhi, May 17, 2017
The Pepsi, Shea Moisture and Braid Bar misadventures reopen the debate about the dangers of cultural appropriation.
Kendall Jenner in the controversial Pepsi advert

One month ago, Pepsi didn't know what hit them when a Kendall Jenner starring ad hit screens. In the ad, reality TV star and model Jenner uses a can of Pepsi to play peacemaker between the police and civil rights activists. Pepsi made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Shea Moisture was next to display the foot-in-the-mouth syndrome. Its new ad featured two white women and one woman of colour. The brand which started out to cater exclusively to women of colour, was accused of its abandoning its core audience and looking to greener pastures.

With two examples before it, one would have expected Braid Bar to stay clear of controversy. However, London's top braiding salon, based in Selfridges, that offered traditional African hairstyles (to mainly white women who shopped in Selfridges as its ads showed) ran a campaign starring the 14-year-old daughter of Kate Moss wearing cornrows. For Braid Bar, the recoil began when it approached Clara Amfo, a black radio presenter with a complimentary offer of braiding. Amfo went to town about how Braid Bar's Instagram account did not reflect society's diversity nor does it represent black women.

While Braid Bar and Shea Moisture's insensitive publicity blitz brought focus on to cultural appropriation, the Pepsi ad had one more uncomfortable fallout - how far can celebrities go without being pulled up for going along without much thought for the consequences. Something that regulators may well be getting their teeth into.

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Source : https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/may/14/is-this-the-year-advertisers-wake-up-to-perils-of-cultural-appropriation