Global Brands Revamping In Light Of Anti-Racism Protests

Global Brands Revamping In Light Of Anti-Racism Protests

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, 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,[1] 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.

Top Brands Pull Out of Facebook Ads

Top Brands Pull Out of Facebook Ads

Growing concerns over the rampant spread of false information and hate speech on Facebook has started the #StopHateForProfit campaign prompting hundreds of advertisers to stop spending on the platform resulting in $56 billion loss of market value in a single day.

Crux of the Matter

#StopHateForProfit Campaign
After the death of George Floyd and subsequent anti-racism protests, a coalition of civil rights groups namely Color of Change, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sleeping Giants, Free Press, Anti-Defamation League, and Common Sense Media accused Facebook of not taking efforts to control the spread of racist content online.

The coalition urged businesses to pull their ads from Facebook and Instagram and this movement is now widely known as the ‘Stop Hate For Profit’ campaign. This campaign is now not limited only to the US but also is spreading globally as nearly 160+ companies have decided to not advertise on Facebook for the next 30 days.

99% of Facebook’s revenue is generated from its 8 million advertisers. Though many of them are small companies, there are several big corporations like Unilever Group & Verizon, which alone spends nearly $42 million & $2 million respectively yearly on Facebook ads, that have halted advertising. Some also have stopped ad-spends on Twitter and other social media sites.

Some major brands who have paused advertising on Facebook include CocaCola, PepsiCo, The North Face, Starbucks, Unilever Group, Honda Motor Co, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnolia Pictures, The Hershey Company, REI, and Verizon.

We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we’ve done with YouTube and other partners.

John Nitti, Chief Media Officer Verizon

After the announcement by giants like Unilever and Verizon, the shares of Facebook dropped by 8.3% along with Mark Zuckerberg losing $7.2 billion of his net worth. Even in the past Facebook has faced backlashes over its handling of user data but its revenue was never seriously impacted by any of the protests. Facebook has lost nearly $56 billion in revenues.

The advertisers are unhappy with Facebook’s laissez-faire attitude towards posts from US President Trump. The organisers of the 2020 US presidential election fear that a highly polarised audience on social media could increase the potential for spreading misinformation and discriminatory content.

Unilever in India has dropped the word ‘fair’ from its popular skin-lightening product called Fair and Lovely. The outrage over the death of Floyd has led to an unprecedented reaction from corporations around the world.

Response by Facebook
Facebook conducted a conference call with over 200 of its advertisers and informed that they were working towards addressing the ‘trust deficit‘. The founder Mark Zuckerberg announced changes in content moderation policy via a live stream.

Facebook will now necessarily not take down posts that may violate its policies, but will instead begin to label them. The posts that ‘may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote ‘will be taken down regardless of who has shared it or whether it is newsworthy. It will also label political speech that violates its rules and take measures to prevent voter suppression and protect minorities from abuse.

I am committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues. But I also stand against hate or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that content, no matter where it comes from.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder Facebook
  • Facebook’s main color is blue because Zuckerberg has red-green color blindness. In an interview, he said that “blue is the richest color for me — I can see all of blue.”
  • In finance, FAANG is an acronym that refers to the stocks of five prominent American technology companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet (Google). The term was coined by Jim Cramer, the television host of CNBC’s Mad Money.
  • Facebook users in the U.S. will have the option to “turn off” all political advertising on the platform. The new feature will give users more control over what they see — at least for users who decide to flip the new setting to “off.”

BLM Makes The World Revisit Historical Figures

BLM Makes The World Revisit Historical Figures

After the murder of George Floyd, there have been mass protests all across the world. Importantly, the protests have been accompanied with a reconsideration of racism as propagated in words of not only civilians, but historical figures which are revered for the grand actions.
Summachar Coverage: History Of Racism In The US

Crux of the Matter

Statues Smeared
Statues of several historical figures have been defaced or vandalized for their apparently racist views. The following are the major historical figures, along with their quotes displaying their racial prejudices.

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister at the time of World War II. However, he also displayed racist views regarding Indians and blacks in his speeches and writings. His statue was defaced in London during anti-racism protests

I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place

I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion

It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir… striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal Palace

On Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was India’s renowned freedom fighter known particularly for his use of ‘non-violence’ in fighting the British. However, he apparently held negative bias towards black people and Africans. His statue was desecrated by BLM protestors outside Indian Embassy in Washington DC.

We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.

We could understand not being classed with the whites, but to be placed on the same level with the Natives [Africans] seemed too much to put up with.

[Black people] are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.

Edward Colston
Edward Colston was an official in Royal African Company (RAC) which was the major slave-trading firm in England in the 17th century. In his tenure, around 84,000 slaves were transported, and 20,000 of them died. His statue was toppled and thrown in a river in Bristol.

Revisiting Other Legacies
Andrew Jackson – US president from 1829 to 1837 – is the face of the $20 bill of US. He has been brought in debate as he sanctioned the ‘Indian Removal Act’ which forced the migration of native American tribes, which ended up in a genocide of the black people. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

Harry Truman, who was the US president at the time of World War II, implemented several economic reforms and initiated the NATO. However, his attack on Japan with atomic bombs has brought him in the light of discussion even though he justified the step by saying, “I decided that the bomb should be used in order to end the war quickly and save countless lives–Japanese as well as American”.

  • The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens. These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • The Story of My Experiments with Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. It was written in weekly installments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929. In 1998, the book was designated as one of the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century” by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities.
  • The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. There is no formal provision that recipients of the Bharat Ratna should be Indian citizens and hence, the former South African president Nelson Mandela was awarded it in 1990.


Vox Box: What do our readers feel about the race riots in USA?

Last week we asked our instagram followers to raise your voice on the race riots in USA. Here’s a compilation of the top answers in no particular order.

Vox Populi

This situation is becoming worse..This 2020 was a nightmare and now this. All should treat everyone as their equals. Why to do discrimination? Why to go with completion?Everyone are humans and they have the same rights as others.. Let’s hope for the best to come…
I think that if we look at the past ,this situation is better..because this time those white people are also sending pled, taking part in protests and wearing the black out Tuesday and black lives matter shirts and all those placards..
I don’t know why most of the people think that black people are not equal as they are…Let’s post on insta with hashtag black out Tuesday….May god make this situation better and people forget discrimination..

Jyoti Boparai @jyotiboparai238

Racism is not acceptable but
I think it’s their internal matter,
When we as Indians expect not to interfere in our bilateral or internal issues with Pakistan and China from USA, Indians should not interfere themselves in their internal issues.

Sharv Kothari @k_sharv

Racism a concept that exists with us since long ago. It has become a part and parcel of the dark people and the bad thing about it is it judges you only on basis of your external appearance. It is a way of humiliation caused by Powerful and those who consider oneself superior over the other. It is a weed and it can be treated only when we start from ourselves. We should be the initiater of change .

Ankita Thakur @ankita5408

I’m just surprised that systematic subjugation of Indians are so prevalent that we have gotten used to it. Kudos to anyone speaking up against it.

Pradunma Choudhury @amnudarp

Criminals playing the victim card is the latest trend,today USA tomorrow India.

Vishwas Shetty @vishwas1876

It is a terrible thing going out there and it’s not the first time though.. it has happened in the past too but I think China 🇨🇳 is taking or will take advantage of this thing.

Swastik Tiwari @swastik_t16

History of Racism In The United States of America

History of racism in USA

In the days following George Floyd’s death, the US has witnessed a rise in a number of protests against racism against blacks amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic. Understanding how things went out of control in the city of Minneapolis requires knowing the major chapters of the history of a nation once known for being a land of immigrants. In terms of racial geography, are a citizen’s genetic endowment and cultural inheritance enough for them to be alienated? 

Crux of the Matter

Racism Towards Different Communities In The States

Attempts to pass removal laws for Native Americans
In a study conducted by Health Services Research, one in five Native Americans (23 percent) reported experiencing discrimination in clinical encounters.

Going back in time, the bias started in 1830, with the Indian Removal Bill being pushed hard by then-President Andrew Jackson in the Congress. More than three dozen eastern tribes from the indigenous groups of North America stood in the way of what he saw as the settlers’ divinely ordained rights to clear the wilderness, build homes and grow cotton and other crops. The irony is that he is still honored in the US for being the face of their twenty-dollar bill

Judenhass: “Jew Hatred” 
FBI data reports how Jews were one of the most prominent groups to be targeted for religiously-motivated hate crimes every year since 1991 due to holocaust denial and stereotypes that construe them as socially, religiously, and economically unacceptable to American life. Judenhass depicts the expressions of hatred against individual Jews and their communities by organizing anti-semitic attacks on them via mob, police violence, and even military attacks

Hostility towards Italians
Italians started migrating to the United States in large numbers in the 1880s from the impoverished city of Sicily. In 1891 one of the worst mass lynchings in US history occurred, in downtown New Orleans. Italian men were hung or shot to death by a mob seeking ‘justice’ for a murdered policeman. Incidentally, the word ‘Mafia’ became popular thereafter, with the migrants being thrown out of schools, theatres, and labor unions. Finally, a law was passed to restrict further immigration in 1921.

Anti-Asian sentiment
Prejudice against the Japanese and the Chinese has existed since the late 19th century, with the start of Yellow Peril that discriminated against them purely on the basis of their color. The hatred for Japan peaked after the deadly Pearl Harbor Attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the US naval base, during the Second World War, resulting in the former’s incarceration in American concentration camps.

Meanwhile, sinophobia targeting Chinese minorities surfaced in the 1860s, when they helped build the First Transcontinental Railroad. Seeing China’s rise as a prospective world power with its budding economy resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, shutting down both immigration and naturalization of Chinese immigrants. 

Hatred for Mexicans
After the defeat of Mexico in the war between the two nations, the anti-Mexican attitude originated. This only alleviated after the Zimmermann Telegram incident between the Mexican government during the Mexican Revolution and the German Empire during World War I, which proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico. Then during the Great Depression, the US government-sponsored a Mexican Repatriation Program, in order to pressure the immigrants to return back to their native country. 

Moreover ‘Make America Great Again’ was proclaimed by Donald Trump in his presidential campaign along with opposition against acts like DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the US when they were children from deportation. All efforts were made to attract the white citizens into having a vision of employment getting back to white Americans, without people of any other color competing for their jobs. 

Post 9/11 discrimination against Sikhs, Muslims and Middle Easterners 
Islamophobia increased rapidly after the US’s worst nightmare – September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attack by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. This ultimately resulted in the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from their regular social, political, and civic life. As a result Sikhs with turbans and middle easterners with long beards often fall prey to characteristics mistakenly identifying them as Muslims.

Reverse racism lies ahead?
There exists a major difference between stereotyping and discriminating. Say, being given a decent grade to a good student of color may seem as ‘discrimination’ to the parent of the white student who did not perform well because of an assumption that the teacher of color was ‘biased’ towards one of the students.

Racial prejudice refers to a derogatory attitude towards a section of the society based on preconceived notions about their race and/or skin colour. So even if racial prejudice can be directed at white people, it cannot be considered racism because the reins of power still lie in their hands in social, economic, and political spheres. Backed with this dominant authoritarian support, it results in acts of discrimination that can be harmful for the mental and physical survival of the ones being constantly oppressed, which in this case are people of color.

In the future, discrimination may start with the members of a dominant or majority group , in favor of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group. This process would redress the social inequalities like preferential policies for college admissions and workplace bias in promotions faced by the latter.

  • Rosa Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.
  • The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African-American road-trippers. It was originated and published by an African-American, Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966 when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against African Americans especially and other non-whites was widespread. The 2018 drama film Green Book centers a professional tour of a black musician and his chauffeur, who use the book to find lodgings and eateries where they can do business.
  • H&M came under fire in 2018 for an ad that featured a black child donning a sweatshirt with the words “coolest monkey in the jungle” etched on the front. The scandal drew public accusations of racism all over social media, including from the Weeknd and G-Eazy, who both cut ties with the company.  The company later issued a public apology that was featured at the top of its website.