Feminism, or the environment, any kind of discrimination or global warming — all these aspects of human life have become an instrument in the hands are not always skilled marketers, advertisers and PR people. The business seeks to create the appearance that it is important for social problems. However, even the wrath of the audience and the loss of part of the customer base do not interfere with such tactics to attract billions of dollars from gullible customers. Social concern of greedy business in a material “Tape.ru”.
More and more large companies say that changing the world for the better, but only a small part of them goes on loud statements. The phenomenon, when companies try to whitewash his reputation, openly using the social agenda, called woke washing is an emerging marketing practice where companies seek to speculate on social issues, declare positive goals, but they themselves do not adhere to the stated ideals. So acting the is for equal rights Nike refused to pay for maternity leave his athlete, socially responsible Apple frankly ruin the ecology of China and the head of the feminist store admits to violence against women. Such practices were characteristic of huge corporations and small enterprises are considered to be “progressive” and “responsible.”
In 2016, the quarterback, “San Francisco Photinians” Colin Kapernick in protest against police violence refused to stand during the national anthem before the match. Many fans of American football such a lack of respect to the public character pissed off, the player was subject to considerable pressure from the National football League (NFL), but Nike decided to lend him a helping hand. However, not once, but two years later. Kapernick became the face of the campaign in the framework of the thirtieth anniversary of the slogan “Just do it”.
Billboards and videos with it was accompanied by the phrase “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Thought it was a very bold and risky move. Many said that now refuse products of Nike, since the company does not respect the United States, people began to burn your sneakers and put the video with the hashtag #JustBurnIt. But these buyers could be sacrificed. Just a few days after is was released, sales increased by 31 percent. Fallen shortly before that shares of Nike after the promo release has not only recovered, but exceeded the stock records for the 2018 and bargaining at the level of 83.9 per dollar. The company’s profit rose to six billion dollars.
As shown by polls, after advertising with Kapelnikom 60 percent of the viewers were treated to Nike positively, 73% considered it a suitable topic for the company, but only 45 percent were confident that she truly adheres to the stated values. Columnist The Guardian Arva Mahdavi one of the first accused Nike that the company assigned social activity, turning it into a marketing tool. Real practice really allows you to suspect Nike of double standards. For example, tennis player Serena Williams, demanding respect for women in sports, get along with the fact that the company refused to give sponsored athlete Alicia Montaño paid maternity leave.
With the image of Copernica on billboards hide stretching from the 90s scandals involving the exploitation of workers in third world countries. In 1991 activist Jeff Ballinger made public the low wages and poor working conditions on Nike factories in Indonesia. He reported on the employee, who worked for a subcontractor for 14 cents an hour, below minimum wage in the country, and documented other abuses. In 1992-1993, the policy in relation to Nike workers sparked protests at the Olympic games in Barcelona.
In 1996, it was stated that one of the clothing lines of the company are made by children in horrible conditions. Scandals could not be ignored, so in 1998 it was announced that Nike will put an end to child labor. The minimum age for hiring new workers at Shoe factories was raised to 18 years, and in other enterprises for 16 years. “These steps have not just set industry standards. They reflect what we are as a company,” said Phil knight, cofounder of Nike.
Despite this, according to the report, Ethical Fashion Report for 2018, in almost all indicators, including staff salaries and the impact on the environment, Nike earned a “good enough”. Its sub-company was ordered to pay “minimum or prevailing in the region wages”. The problem is that in many countries, which produces sneakers, these two indicators can vary considerably. For example, in Vietnam, where Nike has 91 factory finished products and more than 400 thousand jobs, the minimum wage is approximately $ 150 per month, while the subsistence minimum is estimated at $ 290.
On the spot, Nike can be the majority of corporations that produce products in third world countries, and sell in the United States and Europe, where consumers are increasingly concerned about social problems and ecology. For example, Ben & Jerry’s released the ice cream Pecan Resist. “We can peacefully resist the discriminatory policy of the administration to trump and to build a future that values inclusiveness, equality and justice for people of color, women, LGBTQ+, refugees and immigrants”, — said in a description of ice cream on the website. Calling for equality and justice and the company are included in a mega-Corporation Unilever, which was officially accused of violating the rights of workers in third world countries, including low wages, sexual harassment in the workplace and the illegal destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia.
Apple is considered the epitome of progressive business, it’s known for its policy of social and environmental responsibility. The number of Chinese NGOs accused her that she is destroying the ecology of the country, taking advantage of loopholes in the laws. Factory suppliers Apple (Kaedar Electronics and Unimicron Electronics) is so polluted the air that the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages had to transfer children to distant schools. After the factory began work in the district began to grow, the number of cancer patients. The production complex of Catcher Technology Co., as found by the human rights organization China Labor Watch, workers spent 10 hours a day in hot shops producing parts for the iPhone. Often they had to work in hazardous environments without the necessary gloves and masks.
Even charity sometimes does more harm than good. Owned by American businessman and philanthropist Blake Mickoski Shoe company TOMS decided for every pair you buy, a free one to send to a child in a poor country. We can only guess what was behind it: is to hide higher mark-up, or a sincere desire to help. But one of the goals was not exactly achieved.
According to experts, the average cost of production is 3.5-5$, despite the fact that the counter boots already cost about $ 60 per pair. Even after the sacrifice of the second pair of net profit will be $ 50. It is not surprising that with such a high margin in 2014, the company was valued at 625 million dollars. The survey showed that in 58% of cases the purchase decision was influenced by just charitable component. People buying shoes, felt like doing something useful, but the reality was the opposite. Hardly anyone take this into account, but in African villages, too, there are Shoe stores that have not withstood such a powerful dumping and were closed. Production, according to experts, decreased by 40-50%, decreased the number of jobs has affected the whole industry.
Director of strategy at an advertising company VMLY & R London Sophie Lewis notes that when the statements of the company and how it conducts business are not the same, it is quite easy to catch the hand that usually happens. This business has no positive changes, despite all the rhetoric. “When brands allegedly pursue a social objective, they must clearly understand their role and to work honestly and consistently,” she says. Not so long ago, Marks & Spencer (a division of Marks & Spencer company engaged in the production of snacks) has released a new sandwich in rainbow packaging. The traditional composition of BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato — bacon, lettuce, tomato) and added guacamole, which allowed to use on the label of the acronym LGBT.
In addition, the company also said it will donate more than 10 thousand pounds (12,6 thousand dollars) to charity. Perhaps the managers were confident that doing a good job, but a large part of the LGBTQ+ community protested the appearance of gay sandwiches. Insulted sexual minorities resented that they equate to sandwiches, and insisted that in relation to other marginalized groups would act afraid. Well-known journalist piers Morgan poignantly observed that, given the average revenue of 1000 pounds a minute, “this magnificent gesture” charity will pay off them for ten minutes. Also Marks & Spencer advised me to sell these progressive sandwiches in its stores in Saudi Arabia, known for intolerant attitudes toward gays.
Even worse came from the betting company Paddy Power, which released on the streets of an empty open-top bus on which was written “official bus of professional football players-gay”. So bookmakers, they said, wanted to declare “statistical anomalies” in which none of the 500 best players the Premier League has not recognized that he is gay, and inspire gay players to make a coming out for myself and “millions of athletes and fans from among the LGBTQ+ who need a role model”. The human rights organization that protects the rights of LGBTQ+, Stonewall felt it is not appropriate to put such pressure on people, ignoring the good reasons that are in their way to Express their sexuality. In her estimation, this stunt showed the growing desire of corporations to benefit from acute social problems, not wasting time and resources on solving them meaningful ways.
Another loud puncture — acclaimed advertising Pepsi, inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests. The campaign lasted less than 24 hours — users smashed it to smithereens. In the video, the crowd of protesters, which included many blacks, was to meet the police, but bloodshed was avoided after supermodel Kendall Jenner defused the situation by offering the officer a soda. Pepsi was accused of the fact that it completely bypasses the problems underlying the protests and instead prefers to flaunt abstract the demand for “world peace”. As a result, the company image was seriously damaged. As noted by critics, if Pepsi has provided direct support for the movement Black Lives Matter, instead of its imitation in the movie, things would have been better. The situation was ridiculed in the sketch show Saturday Night Live. It shows for a few minutes before the ads start to take off, a series of telephone calls forces the Director to realize what a disaster for his career is allegedly a brilliant idea.
Scandals are not insured and startups, earning on a positive agenda. For example, an Internet Feminist Apparel store specializing in the sale of t-shirts and bags with antisexism slogans like “pizza rolls, not gender roles”. Last summer, to the surprise of the staff, the founder and Executive Director of Feminist Apparel Alan Martorell admitted that he used violence against the women. The team asked Martiale to resign, not to discredit their struggle for gender equality, but he found another way out and just fired unhappy. Martial justified it by the fact that his company “exists in a strange space of feminism and business.”
Burger King active raises the topic of helping people with mental disorders. For example, in contrast to the “happy food” (Happy Meal) its main competitor McDonalds, they released a set of “sad food” (Blue Meal), paying tribute to clients with depression. Social media users were quick to point out that the employees of Burger King is unlikely you will be able to pay for the services of a psychiatrist, considering how much they are paid, and reminded that there is a relationship between poverty and mental disorders. In 2017, Audi showed a super bowl commercial in which a girl on a homemade go-kart leaves behind men-racers. Such support for gender equality quickly went sideways. Audi was accused of hypocrisy and the desire to cash in on the alien theme, when it became clear that only two of the 14 heads of giant women.
In Russia the phenomenon woke washing is scarce. While sporadic attempts to play on social justice often become wild and cause scandals. So, Reebok made a lot of noise his Russian campaign #newsacadamy. Posters with well-remembered by the Russians the slogan “Move the needle on male approval male face” provoked a mixed public reaction and after a few hours the images were removed, but managed to produce thousands of memes.
Delivery service food Delivery Club posted photos of the couriers some facts from their biographies. Among the food delivery was a teacher of literature, climber, reporter and former officer. The authors said they wanted to show that their employees are people with their talents and passions, not “faceless workers”. In this case network users, this is quickly angered, they, in particular, has noticed that it “hits the prestige of liberal education”.
Most of the ads now slipped to “pointless posturing”, said J. P. Hanson, General Director of marketing Agency Rouser. “Start to pay — pardon my French — your fucking taxes and then do other things,” he says. As pointed out by Hanson, Starbucks is constantly said in their advertising about community development, but of tax evasion, which would go to their development — the construction of schools and hospitals. Ernst & Young regularly expresses support for LGBTQ+. “I have no doubt that this is a good place for work LGBTQ+, but also the firm facilitates massive tax evasion at a time when support for LGBTQ+ is reduced due to the lack of state funding”, — tablet Hanson. In his opinion, companies should participate in social projects, not for profit, but because I really believe in it.
But such examples are rare. Cosmetic company Lush in 2018 started a bold advertising campaign highlighting the illegal actions of the British undercover police officers who infiltrated activist groups. The company placed posters with portraits of police officers and stylized police tape with the words “paid to lie” and “the police crossed the line”. Profit such advertising could not bring in last year in England and Wales the local police trusted 78 percent of people over the age of 16. Many of them thought that Lush made against the police in General, after the constant threats of the stores were forced to remove posters from the Windows. While among the activists were a lot of people who are willing to vouch for Lush, whose owners privately donated funds without any conditions.
Possible counter-examples. Sincerity can make a profit, even if contrary to the prevailing sentiment. The fast food chain Chick-fil-A was known as homophobic after its CEO Dan Cathy publicly opposed same-sex marriage. After that surfaced that the charity of Chick-fil-A has allocated billions of dollars to organizations fighting against LGBTQ+. Although the social network was filled with negative comments, many said about the boycott, sales of fried chicken soared to 12 percent. Although the company has tried to smooth scandal, Katie did not give up their words about the “the biblical definition of the family”. He openly declared his convictions and was able to obtain solidarity clients who hold similar views.
In Russia odious and homophobic entrepreneur German Sterligov, who refused to sell gay your bread for 550 rubles, and pounds of cheese from whole milk — 3.6 thousand rubles, according to SPARK, finished the 2017 financial year with a net profit of 511 million rubles. However, in 2019, it seems, the problems started — the savings Bank at the request of the Federal tax service (FTS) has blocked the accounts his IP and he owned the company “sterling Group”.
Although the activists did not tire of reminding that progress is achieved through protest and struggle, not the change of the names of the sandwiches, the majority of consumers uncomfortable to hear about it. In today’s world of huge proportions, the phenomenon called “lectivism” — people sign the online petition and I think I accomplished a great deal without actually affecting the world. The desire to seem yourself better, nothing is not really doing business is making millions. While consumers will not be willing to take some effort or at least take a sober look at the situation, corporations can continue to hide under the carpet the real issues, limited to progressive and vague statements. In the future there will be more advertising campaigns in defense of women, LGBTQ+, blacks and the environment, which will become a cover for oppression.
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