It is in the interest of the company to act in a thoughtful and measured way.
In financing a product or a brand, an intelligent advertising is a fundamental tool of communication that increase brand visibility and the measurable market.
Social media as well are an important component of marketing strategy. The company invests a lot of money to run a proper social media campaign in order to make the products more demanded by the customers.
There have been cases in which this was favored by also sharing genuine messages, such as the body positive from the H&M company or anti-racist messages from United Colors of Benetton.
The anti-racist message was given with the launch of a collaboration between Benetton and SOS Racism on the occasion of the World Day against racism on March 21 1996 with the image of hearts with the inscription ‘White, Black, Yellow’.
The message of body positive from H&M, instead, was the key of the launch campaign ‘Sweet Summer Escape’ of a swimsuit collection featuring a Dutch curvy model of 2019. This brought the brand out of a situation where profit had been falling for three consecutive years.
Another social media campaign that helped relaunch the brand’s takings was the spot of 1997 of the Apple ‘Think Different’.
But not always the effects produced are the one desired. This is the case of the shocking advertisings that have had a negative impact on the company’s profits; Benetton is an example. This happened due to the launch of the project ‘We on Death Row’.
The intent of this project, with relative advertising campaigns, was highlighting a controversial issue: capital punishment. The images, depicting the condemned and realized by Toscani, intended to restore a human face to those sentenced to death, to remind all citizens of the world that these debates and discussions concern men and women.
After the launch, the state of Pennsylvania and the California Assembly called a nationwide boycott of Benetton goods. Benetton missed the franchise agreement just reached with Sears, that cleared from its shelves all of the Benetton-labelled clothes that it had started to manufacture and to sell under the agreement. This happened because there was generally thought of immorality to use the faces of condemned people to promote products. To stop all this, Benetton had to write letters of apologies and had to donate $50,000 to the Missouri Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
Other examples that caused quite a stir in the marketing world were advertisings with sexist character, like the one realized by Pandora.
Pandora, a jewelry brand, that has always been linked to the stereotyped female image, posted on the Milan Duomo stop on 3 December 2017 an advertising that contained the following words “An iron, pajamas, an apron, a Pandora bracelet. What do you think would make her happy?”.
The intent of the company was to recommend the perfect gift to their consumers for Christmas. But all that was perceived by disgusted consumers, who published it on social media, was the reference to elements related to the stereotyped female image. The manifesto attracted the attention of Lefanfarlo, a non-profit organization that deals with “burlesque, life and women”, that responded that the actual gift is true respect. Many shared the photo on Twitter by pointing a finger at an “arrest copywriter”. The 85 percent of Twitter users accused Pandora of true retrograde and sexist advertising by threatening to stop buying Pandora products. The controversy was stopped by the brand’s apology.
The images and the words that a company chooses must be filtered and weighted, in the interests of the same, in relation to the social and historical context in which they are carried out.