I read this article on The Drum today: Brands show solidarity with George Floyd protests, but can they contribute to real change? and like so many in the world right now – who are questioning ‘our world’, the belief systems that we have and ‘what‘ we have allowed to go on for so long.. this article in The Drum really did get me thinking.
Are the protests and outrage at the murder of George Floyd and so many others going to generate lasting change? Are brands really going to stand up, take notice and follow through on their commitments – or until we take notice of the economic divide between the rich and the poor, are we going to continue to see this happening?
On Tuesday 2nd June – the entertainment industry in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement participated in #BlackoutTuesday. Blackout Tuesday was an initiative to go silent on social media, reflect on recent events, and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
As expected when ‘our’ influencers take a stand, we in society follow suit. Did those black squares spark outrage? Did they spark awareness or did we just follow without understanding why?
The big question I have right now is what is going to change and how are our brands and influencers going to support that change. I’ve watched and followed a lot of what these brands and influencers have been doing and I think it’s important to hold these people to account because they hold the keys to change probably more so than we realise.
John Boyega is a phenomenal example of this. The powerful message behind his words is one thing but the pain in is words is palpable. Not only is his holding ‘the world to account’ right now, he is holding the industry he works for to account too in my opinion. Encouraging and demanding their support without probably realising it.
In my post Social Influencers Influence Me I talked about the impact of influencers and I think now more than ever they have the ability to use their platform for real lasting change.
Hasan Minaj and Riz Ahmed used their platforms on social media and Netflix to educate their Asian communities on the importance of this systemic issue:
Russell Brand is another celebrity that has taken time to understand and educate himself and produce understandable and relatable content with solid, coherent arguments that make you think:
I’d like to draw attention to one brand in particular that stands out me. Ben & Jerry’s. As The Drum states “With activism at the heart of its brand, its tweet points to the time the ice-cream maker previously took a similar stand, in response to the Ferguson unrest when Michael Brown was shot dead by police, and laments that its words then are still “just as relevant” four years on.”
Grazia is another brand that I think hit the mark every time. Producing content which in my opinion makes you think. Their NHS Key Worker focused covers were poignant and their comments on the protests have begged the question of what happens next – I feel this is a brand asking the world, what do we do next and how do we ensure change?
There is so much to say on the topic of racism and what I truly think and if you want to know my opinion from a personal point of view, then reading this post will help:
But in relation to this space – we’re here to talk about marketing, advertising and how brands speak to their consumers and how we as marketer talks to our audiences. There is a clear message to convey here – this isn’t something that should be a passing moment and then revisited again in Black History Month. It’s our job as marketers to get this message out and get this message in a way that people understand, can digest and begin to live as part of their daily lives. There’s a job to do and it will take time but it’s the right thing to do.
I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this…