I’m all for positivity. I think it’s important to put life and life matters into perspective and not to allow the small things to get you down too much. It’s hard, and an individual’s life, and what affects them is subjective, but pretending something doesn’t affect you isn’t positive at all.
“Don’t feed the trolls.”
“They want you to respond.”
“Don’t be so sensitive.”
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The above notions are said about a variety of situations, and to be frank, I’m not here for any of them. Let’s take two recent horror shows for example – Nivea and Pepsi.
If you were lucky enough to miss the storm, Pepsi released a TV ad that was likened to the Black Lives Matter movement, where protests and marches, were organised to denounce police brutality against black people. The ad has a white model, played by Kendall Jenner, join a march and hand a can of Pepsi to one of the police officers acting as a barricade. There was a massive backlash on social media because the appropriation of a black movement merely to sell a few more cans of a fizzy drink was, and is, the greatest of insults; and although I don’t particularly want to share the ad, I do want to share one reaction from the world of Twitter.
The above tweet was from the actual daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine creating something so offensive and heinous that the daughter of one of the greatest black influencers of all time felt compelled to express her disgust?! Pepsi really messed up (to say the least), but they weren’t the only ones.
Nivea have a history of causing race controversy. In 2011 they released this ad:
Now, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but depicting a decapitated black man with an afro, and surmising him as uncivilised, touched a nerve or two; but this didn’t seem to deter them from their latest ad:
An ad with ‘White is Purity’ sends a message that anything other than white is impure, unclean, unwanted, and undesirable. This message was always going to be seen as deplorable, and again, Twitter were on hand to name and shame Nivea:
In both instances, many echoed the views of each ad being racially insensitive, but some of the responses to the ads perturbed me somewhat. Responses like the ones I listed above, about not allowing oneself to be dragged into the negative whirlpool. Surmising that the ads were designed to create hype. But is this true?
Well yes, of course it’s true! Brands don’t spend millions on advertising in the hope that people don’t talk about their product. That’s the whole purpose of advertising. What brands don’t want is negative coverage, and I can’t imagine either thought that the avalanche of negative comments and coverage did their brand any good. Both apologised and the ads were removed within 48 hours of release but the damage was done, and I’m glad that people stood up and called out these brands. We can’t stay silent when things like this happen. Staying silent, whether intended or not, shows complicity and gives brands the green light to continue making ads that put one race, or one type of body, or one type of religion, or one type of sexual orientation, above another. That’s not the world I want to live in and I will always speak up and call out something I find wrong.
So yeah, let’s give these people all the coverage in the world. Let’s spread far and wide their wrong doings; let’s educate them and others like them that their actions have consequences and we will not be silent, we will not be complicit and we will not let their hate and discrimination slide because it’s wrapped up in a colourful, naïve package.
I think that’s one of the most positive messages of all.