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H&M Ad; When Will Companies Recognize Need For Diversity?

by Todd A. Smith

 

Diversity is Good for Bottom Line


Companies who put out racially insensitive advertisements deserve the negative backlash that they receive.


Sure, with a more diverse workforce some racially insensitive ads would have been avoided.


But in 2018, if major corporations cannot see that having a diverse workforce is good for their bottom line, then they deserve to lose revenue, spokespeople and loyal customers because by now they should know better.


According to the New York Times, “Clothing retailer H&M apologized Monday for an image appearing in its online store that showed a Black child model wearing a hooded sweatshirt that said ‘coolest monkey in the jungle.’ The company removed the image Monday and said it would also pull the shirt from its stores worldwide.”


Monkeys have long been used as a racial slur against African-Americans.


Pop star The Weeknd was so upset about the H&M ad that he has declined to work with the retailer in the future.


Rapper G-Eazy has followed The Weeknd’s lead.


To some, the calls for diversity probably seem like another excuse or simply African-Americans playing the race card.


But for anyone who runs a successful business, it is hard to be successful without diverse voices in the room no matter what your target audience looks like.


Having a room full of old White men or women possibly, is not a good thing when your product is trying to appeal to all people, or to young people or to people of color.


Even a company like this publication, which is dedicated to African-American men, should have a diverse board of people of different ages and even both genders because it is impossible for a Black man in his 30s to always know what is relevant to a Black man that is a freshman in college or a Black man nearing retirement.


One of the biggest blunders of not having a diverse workforce happened from around 1999-2013 at Universal Pictures.


It took Universal over a decade to put out a sequel to the classic movie “The Best Man.”


Although “The Best Man Holiday” made over $100 million at the box office, not having people in the company to tell decision makers how important “The Best Man” was to the African-American community delayed that money coming into the company. 

 

Additionally, it ultimately has delayed them from making more money with the third installment of the film franchise because now the stars of the films are too busy to shoot “The Best Man Wedding.”


So while the controversial H&M ad is going to cost H&M a lot of money due to ignorance and a lack of diversity, companies that do not value diversity of thought get what they deserve because no one should have to tell a business that diversity is essential to a company’s bottom line.


Furthermore, H&M should have known better after seeing companies like Dove and Nivea get raked across the coals for racially insensitive ads.


Unfortunately, African-Americans are aware that racism will always exist.


Some people will always be racist just out of ignorance.


It is just hard to believe that people cannot let racism and ignorance go by the wayside in order to make money.


If diversity is so despised in boardrooms and executive suites in order to maintain the good ole boy network, then losing good money will be the result.

 

The question should be, is a lack of diversity more important than a lack of profits?

This article was published on Friday 12 January, 2018.
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