Marketing for any business operating in today’s harsh business world isn’t easy. Getting the right campaign to the target market is a huge task. Hitting the nail on the head can be a massive gamble. Companies who use the services of marketing/advertising agencies most times are not in control of what the agencies produce. Somehow, companies even accept anything that the agency produces without contesting or even make suggestions to improve on the advertisement. It is sad when companies have to withdraw ads that offend a segment of the target market even sometimes offending the society. Advertisements are not only produced for the intended market. Because they are viewed in the mass media, extending the reach of the ad, the advert may be offensive. Companies however have a huge role in ensuring that the ads that the company has on television, radio, print etc are comfortable and not offensive.
Recently, KGB a company that answers questions that they receive by text messaging released an ad that some people find offensive. Some even want the ad to be pulled. The ad portrays black females in a salon getting their hair done. A female talent in the ad asked the other ‘What kind of hair is this?’ The response of the hairstylists says natural. The discussion there continues with the quest to find out what natural hair means by sending a text message to KBG for the answer.
From the advertising agency and company’s point of view they have achieved their objectives. They produced an ad reflecting the company’s proposition (product), and they used talents which reflected in some way their intended target audience. Success huh?
But the issue is bigger than that. The issue is the portrayal of black people. Culturally, the black race is known for their sense of humour, survival, hardworking attitude, breaking the law etc. Generally in advertisements the black talent would always deliver that punch line of a joke, or be seen eating unhealthy foods like chicken (not that chicken is bad). There are both positive and negative images that are embedded in ads today. These images can be offending; some can be flattering while others can be motivating.
There is certainly nothing wrong with the advertisement of this company. People will find issue with the ad that most of the actors were black. Normally, companies with a huge target market would show diversity in the ad to show that all races accept their product. This advertisement borderlines offensive because it appears to be saying that only black people wear weaves and emphasizes the fact that they cannot explain where it comes from. The believe that black people wear the most weaves may be a lie, but this ad does not make it appealing.
But how did we get here? There are issues within the black community and it is sad that this company is highlighting that flaw to sell their brand. Majority of people believe that black people use weave as a way to change who they really are. They use all the hair products and chemicals to look like someone else. Weaves do compliment and enhance a woman’s features. There is nothing wrong with wearing a weave. There might be a problem when weave identifies your race.