There are really no words to describe the outrage that appeared in social media when this picture showed up
“Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” is what the hoodie says.
Well alright. 😐
My first reaction to the hoodie was, “well, that was HORRIBLY executed and offensive as hell.” I also knew that there was going to be some extensive apology about how H&M they just “got it wrong” with their marketing. In actuality, they issued this initial statement:
Same old story, different company.
How many times have we seen this happen over the years; a company will release a highly offensive ad or product, the public is enraged, they apologize and it is removed from their company? Now, I will be honest; was I horrifically outraged and ready to ride through my local H&M parking lot with signs and protest? Not particularly. Will I be shopping at H&M? I don’t shop there now, so they weren’t really getting much business out of me anyway, *shrugs*. They never really were a “top priority” option for me as far as clothing stores anyway, so the boycotting of their product is not something that appeals to me on that level.
What really makes me roll my eyes harder than anything on this universe, is the whole apology that eludes to someone on their team missing the mark on something that they NOW realize is highly offensive and causes some great unrest with the greater population. I am starting to wonder (which I am 95% sure I know the answer to this) if there is any level of diversity on any of these marketing teams who have made these blaring errors. Just someone who could say, “hey guys, before y’all send that out, you may want to rethink that; because it miiiiiiiight not be the best look”. I really feel like if a lot of these companies’ marketing or creative teams were diversified, there would not be situations like these where the company would have to make public statements about how wrong they got it with their ad when it came out, especially when the first reaction is offense to different races and/or cultures. If there are people of diverse races and cultures on their marketing teams, I would love to know how in the world no one thought this would not go over well for H&M.
In a time when race is a very gentle subject matter (given the President that we currently have in office especially), it is no secret that there are many people who pointing out when things are highly offensive to them. They are not being silent about it and speaking up about how they feel. I will not deny or downplay the way anyone feels about this child’s hoodie, because I too feel that it can cause offense for several people; however, I do know there are others who are far more angrier than I am and the apology H&M gave is not going over well as enough to win back the hearts of those who once were consumers of H&M clothing and accessories.
I hope that in time, they can come back from this, but I also hope a valuable lesson was learned by them and other companies to hopefully add more diverse minds and opinions to the decision-making process with certain ads and things that are being made. There are so many ideas and products being put together that it is not hard for one person to look at something and think there is no problem, but another to be able to offer perspective that may be able to save public humiliation. In a perfect world, one could only hope that when there is a well-rounded group of individuals coming together, these are the kind of things that can be discussed at that table and deemed inappropriate. They would able to let people know when something will not possibly go over well with their consumer base, and it could save a lot of things like what is happening to H&M right now.