The advertising industry went green for climate change, blue for Sudan and rainbow for Pride; and over the last few weeks we’ve gone black for #blacklivesmatter. Unless brands stop and take real action, this will just be another colour added to the belt of slacktivism. Sparked by the violent murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, protests have erupted in the US and across the world. Many brands have taken to social platforms to express solidarity with the Black community – from Apple, Nike, PrettyLittleThing, Netflix and Ben & Jerry’s speaking out about their support for the BLM movement, to L’Oreal, Chanel and Boohoo posting black boxes on Instagram for #BlackOutTuesday.
As an industry, we like to reward ourselves for being visible in helping to address society’s ills, yet we forget that we’re often part of the problem. While a brand’s advertising is not reflective of its stance on racism, or indeed any other political outlook, it is signified by its organisational values, the people who have been hired and the diverse leadership that represents it.
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