By now, I am certain that you have seen the controversial ad with the young Black boy wearing the H&M hoodie entitled, "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle".
And if not, here it is….
.Initially the photo invoked a sense of discomfort. But once emotions are removed, you have to wonder why a brand that has been synonymous with diversity and cultural acceptance would do this?
When all else fails, ALWAYS follow the money!
H&M has been dropping in profitability. So much so that there are even discussions about closing some stores and halting the expansion of others. People just don’t care about the Swedish-based company anymore. Not the party people. Not the gays. Not the radicals and now, certainly not the Black market. So what is a multi-chain store to do? Stir up some controversy! And there is nothing more yummy for attention these days than racism or Trump. Since the Trump-attention sector is currently locked down by the scandals of a new book for the next couple of weeks, all that is left is good ol’ marketable racism.
Honestly, before this ad were you thinking about H&M? Probably not. Neither was Diddy, Lebron James or the Weeknd but the attention that comes from race-baiting is too delicious to pass up, especially if your company and/or persona relies on public attention.
Don’t get me wrong, what H&M did was distasteful and insensitive but in the grander schemes of things, the marketing worked. People have taken notice. Will it tank their sales even further? Probably. But the marketing worked and overall, the young boy has received a check and notoriety (he’s become a meme for crying aloud) that has the potential to propel his modeling career. Diddy and ‘em look like pro-black saviors, which helps their brands as well and we all have something to write and rave about, so technically its a win-win.
Well, for everyone except H&M of course. That's bananas.