After a wave of protests following George Floyd’s death, global brands are rebranding age-old products which once signified racism and also showing their support towards the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Crux of the Matter
Evolving Names, Logos & Tag Lines
The past few weeks have seen an international wave of apologies and product removals. A number of consumer-goods companies are rebranding old trademarks following weeks of anti-racism protests in the U.S.
For decades, Indian advertisers have propagated an association between skin fairness with career success and social status. Unilever patented Fair & Lovely in 1971 after patenting niacinamide, a melanin suppressor which is the cream’s main active ingredient. Melanin is the natural skin pigment. To revamp its identity, Unilever announced to drop the word fair. Fair & Lovely has an average sales of over ₹3,400 crores/year in India
If we have to make our brands contemporary then we have to keep innovating and renovating them.Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman Hindustan Unilever
After an Indian-American woman named Hetal Lakhani launched a campaign against the very popular website Shaadi.com, they announced the removal of its skin-tone search filter option which allowed users to search for those with fair or dark complexions.
Johnson & Johnson after being accused of systemic racism they have announced to take all skin-lightening products like Neutrogena Fine Fairness off their shelves. Other brands like Loreal are also now being criticised for their products.
Brands know that it is bad business to be antagonizing large segments of vocal consumers who have the power to sway public opinion for or against them.Karthik Srinivasan, Indian Branding & Communications consultant
Quaker Oats is changing the name of its 130-year old Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup whose brand logo features an African-American woman named after a character in 19th-century minstrel shows and is rooted in a stereotype of a friendly black woman working as a servant or nanny for a white family.
Uncle Ben’s owned by Mars Food and Mrs. Butterworth syrup owned by ConAgra Brands have announced to revamp and evolve the brand’s packaging in response to ongoing protests against racism. Cream of Wheat owned by B&G Foods Inc. also will review its current packaging which depicts a character named Rastus, a derogatory term for Black men.
Nestlé has decided to review its portfolio of more than 2,000 brands and 25,000 products to ‘identify any required changes to our use of imagery or language.’ It will rename its Red Skins, Chicos, and Beso de Negra products.
More Efforts by Brands To #BlackLivesMatter
Nike has inverted the brand’s tagline to ‘Don’t do it’ and also released a powerful video encouraging people to resolve the issue of institutionalised racism. Google added a message of support to the BLM along with a black ribbon. Spotify created a silent playlist that lasted for 8mins 46seconds, the time for which George Floyd was choked by the American policeman. Nickelodeon went off-air for 8:46 minutes.
Amazon & Netflix celebrated the role of black artists, writers, and producers by putting out messages on their social media handles. Doritos gave Black artists major outdoor ad space to promote their messages as part of new investment in the #AmplifyBlackVoices effort. It also aired a 30-second spot, “Do You Hear Us Now?”
Twitter changed its profile picture to a black version of its logo and also real Tweets from Black users around the world were transformed into OOH boards in U.S. cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland and Philadelphia where major protests occurred.
Mississippi Removes Confederate Emblem
Mississippi House and Senate passed a bill on June 27 to remove the Confederate emblem from their flag which was originally used by the slave-owning states that lost the US Civil War and was seen as a racist symbol. It was the only remaining US state flag to feature the Confederate emblem and the recent protests reignited a debate over its use.
Mississippi was the only remaining US state flag to feature the Confederate emblem which was originally used by the slave-owning states that lost the US Civil War and the recent protests reignited a debate over its use. On June 27, Mississippi House and Senate passed a bill to remove the Confederate emblem from their flag which was seen as a racist symbol.
- Lakmé is named after the French form of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. It was started in 1952 famously because then PM Jawaharlal Nehru was concerned that Indian women were spending precious foreign exchange on beauty products and personally requested JRD Tata to manufacture them in India.
- Unilever patented the brand Fair & Lovely in 1971 after the patenting of niacinamide, a melanin suppressor, which is the cream’s main active ingredient. Melanin is the natural skin pigment that gives colour to the skin.
- 8:46 is a 2020 performance special by American comedian Dave Chappelle about violence against African-Americans. The special was released via YouTube on June 12, 2020. The performance is not a traditional stand-up comedy special, as it was recorded at a private outdoor venue due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Ohio and features long stretches without humor.