Abid Hussain Barlaskar
Marketing

Scotch-Brite to do away with ‘the woman’ in its logo

The gender marker was highlighted by communication consultant Karthik Srinivasan in a post on LinkedIn drawing a response from the brand’s marketing head.

Users on social media often try to draw a brand’s attention to certain aspects they might disagree with. In one such incident, communication consultant Karthik Srinivasan highlighted the logo of 3M’s cleaning brand Scotch-Brite in a LinkedIn post. Apart from the brand name, the logo for Scotch-Brite’s products in India includes an image of a woman with a ‘bindi’ who is presented almost like a mascot.

Karthik Srinivasan's post on LinkedIn
Karthik Srinivasan's post on LinkedIn

Srinivasan tried to draw attention to the fact that such a logo helps reinforce existing gender stereotypes and sexism in society, and that cleaning isn’t the woman’s job alone. He mentioned that while the logo might have been relevant when it was introduced in the ‘90s, it is regressive in today’s times especially when the awareness levels around equality and gender issues are high. There is a serious push from major brands to present the previous ‘woman-only’ roles as gender neutral.

Most of Srinivasan’s posts on LinkedIn are about his analysis and take on the happenings in the world of brand marketing and communication. The post on Scotch-Brite is also one among his regular updates.

However, the onus lies on the brand to drive the conversation forward and to take charge of the narrative. It didn’t take long for 3M to respond. Atul Mathur, head of marketing, Consumer Business at 3M India, took note of Srinivasan’s post and responded saying that work on changing the logo is already underway and new logo would be unveiled in a few months. Mathur agreed with Srinivasan’s point of view. “...this is a legacy vector, and that it is undoubtedly time to move on from regressive beliefs,” he wrote in response.

Atul Mathur's response
Atul Mathur's response

He also drew attention to Scotch Brite’s cause led ad campaign ‘Ghar Sabka Toh kaam bhi Sabhi Ka’ from 2018. The ad highlights the fact that men are equally responsible for the day to day duties of the household like washing utensils, etc.

On the sidelines of the to and fro, a controversy took birth. Both Srinivasan’s post and Mathur’s response were misconstrued as an attack on the Indian tradition of women wearing the ‘bindi’ and were trolled on Twitter.