Racial Exasperation: the new marketing trend for dumb brands

The stupid trend big brands are using to stay relevant

NB: I wrote this article in October but I made it Unlisted because I was shy.

Guess this H&M act just gave me the confidence I needed to make it public.

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Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about racism, and the BLM movement. I’d admit, I have the slightest idea of racism, or even the experience of racism because I‘ve lived in Nigeria all my life. If I were ever trading off racist stories, maybe I’ll mention the time I was at the Abuja airport and one white guy looked at me funny. In retrospect, I think it’s just because I looked homeless — so that definitely doesn’t count.

But thanks to medium articles from Ezinne Ukoha, tweets from @Madblackthot and some other noteworthy authors on medium, I’ve come to learn a lot more about racism in the past couple of months.

Living in Nigeria may be shit but at least we don’t have racism…We have tribalism though. :(

And with all the information I’ve been garnering off late, I’ve become very sensitive to a lot of things around me. I hope I’m not overdoing it at this point, but I’m definitely more conscious about things shown on the media, one of which is, ads that brands put out.

The awareness of racism is a growing movement in the world right now, POC are tired now more than ever with the racist things around them. So I guess I’m not surprised that the marketing teams of these companies have resorted to tapping into the movement to further their agenda. I mean, what good is a marketing team that doesn’t tap into the latest trend or movement? *pathetic*

The Ads

It’s just too naive to believe that these brands are genuinely shocked by the public response to the racist ads that they took their time and resources to produce. Don’t get me wrong, people make mistakes, and as a Christian I definitely believe in forgiving the mistakes of others, I just think it’s time that these brands stop hoaxing under the guise of “Mistake” to increase awareness for their brand.

The Racist Ad Pocket Guide:

  1. Brand releases racist ad
  2. Brand gets noticed & mentioned by a lot of exasperated people, which inadvertently increases their market base with people that either support their racist movement, or people that prefer to be mute
  3. Brand Issues an apology, and goes about their business like nothing happened.

The public apology is usually a taken from this sample “We never saw it this way. We never thought it would be perceived this way. We apologize for the ones we hurt.”.

That’s BS. I DON’T THINK ANYONE CAN BE THAT IGNORANT. There are a thousand cases of people that have messed up with this in the past, so there is no shortage of examples of ways to not go. The mind bugling part of all of this is, these are big brands with marketing teams/ad agencies comprising of a lot of people, plus I bet they have a review stage. So how are these things never checked?

In my opinion, this act of releasing racist ads is not a mistake, but an intentional decision undertaken to thrive off the publicity that the racist ads create. In a world of were news spreads fast, I believe these brands see racial exasperation as a means to spread their brand awareness — create impressions in the mind of potential buyers, and sadly it’s working. They know people will talk about it, so they use it to stay relevant.

The latest brand to try this mess is Dove. Yes, I’d admit, the Dove brand would never have crossed my mind until last weekend, but now they pulled this stunt, I have to say, well played Dove. You’re on my mind now.

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Screenshots from the ad

And of course, they pulled their apology from the Racist ad handbook apology chapter:

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Some people already know about my brand, but why not attract more buyers with a racist image?

Another brand that tried it recently is, Khloe Kardashian’s Good American — The pic where she posed with Slick Woods. While the image may not be the most racist image in the world. It was definitely shot to cause attention and ruffle some feathers. Did she get the attention and exposure she wanted? Yes, she did.

Argue all you want, but these folks know what they’re doing. I see no reason why an ad that makes light of so much ongoing conversations and experiences , isn’t shut down at the script writing phase.

Blog click baits

Lastly, let’s not forget these online magazines and blogs. This may not be too obvious, but a blog or magazine that chooses to ignore the truth, and decides to opt for a racially exasperating clickbait title only because they know they’ll get “dragged” on social media, the “drag” will get a massive amount of RT’s and shares, which will inadvertently increase their page views, is definitely a part of this mess.

While I know there are a lot of truly ignorant morons in the world that see ‘A’ but still call it ‘Z’, these blogs know what they’re doing. They know if they decide to title the post about a white terrorist, ‘terrorist’, it will get the mediocre amount of views they always get, so they resort to going for a title like “he was a quiet, kind man”, knowing the repercussion of such a title in the media industry today. *Sad*


I think everyone needs to take boycotting brands like these very seriously, because this is only way to stop this mess. At first, I thought about the situation as a chicken and egg situation where if we don’t talk about it, they loose, and we loose in the sense that they feel comfortable to propagate their agenda, and if we talk about it, they win. But no, that’s not the only option — we can still boycott them! And I don’t mean twitterfingers boycotting, where it’s just words and threats, we need to do better. If a brand chooses to be insensitive in their actions by either making light of very important issues that matter to POC, or making derogatory ads against POC, they do not deserve our coints.

I’m afraid I may be growing into a cynic. 😔

I complain about things (I care about) // Software engineer // Currently building Selar.co // douglas@selar.co

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