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White supremacy, moisturising cream and stupidity.

White supremacy, moisturising cream and stupidity.

White is purity.

A sentence that immediately gets my hackles up. It’s the type of statement I’d expect to see lazily scrawled in black marker pen on the metal shutters of a Persian food outlet. I can picture myself walking past the ugly words and shaking my head in disbelief.

What I don’t expect is to associate this statement with a cream that my grandmother used. Nivea, however, felt that it was a fitting tagline to accompany an image of a woman’s back. Here’s the Facebook post in all its baffling glory:

I imagine the event unfolded within the marketing team like this:

A social media executive, with KPIs of getting 10 or so posts out a day across each channel, was faced with an approved image bank and an empty creative tank. He or she stumbles upon the inoffensive and angelic picture in between sips of strong coffee. Now, the copy:

‘She’s wearing white.’

‘White is good.’

‘White is pure’.

‘Not wanky enough.’

‘White is purity.’

‘Wanky level: expert.’

It’s then served to Middle Eastern (yup that’s who they targeted) Facebook followers with as much grace and finesse as Pickfords delivering a quail’s egg. Done. Next up, a Twitter post.

We’ve banged on about the 24hr news agenda killing journalism, now we must take responsibility for the 24hr marketing agenda ruining intelligent communications. At no point, I imagine, did the Nivea team responsible for this content pause for breath.

Perhaps, another Facebook post wasn’t required at all? Perhaps, what they needed was a few days of limited posting in favour of coming together as a creative team and exploring a different strategy, or, shock horror, listening to what their audiences care about.

Of course, the ‘I’m offended’ crowd immediately insured that Nivea was promptly slapped about as they bellowed and huffed and puffed in all their offended glory across Twitter. But who cares what they think. Claims that a moisturising cream is racist is as absurd as the content itself.

The greater concern is that brands are in such a rush to do things, in such a hurry to be relevant or heard, that they’ve stopped thinking. There was some beauty and pride in having to produce old school forms of content. Hand drawn imagery or commissioning a single photograph to accompany a message that was agonised over.

Of course, it took months to get something out the door, but most of the time it had some intelligence behind it. Now, our KPIs and metrics have made us content zombies. We can get shit out there quickly, but it will be, well, shit.

So, let’s get some investment behind doing nothing. Let’s celebrate thinking time and pausing for reflection. Let’s not be a Nivea or, dare I say, a Pepsi. Let’s not rush an advert out to capitalise on a political trend that a brand should be nowhere near. Let’s not be lazy with our copy just to meet a content calendar’s tempo.

Let’s just stop doing things for a moment and think.

 

 

 

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