by G. Brown
Hair care is serious business…especially for women of color! Black hair care generates an estimated 500 billion dollars a year. Sistas trying to keep it natural know which products they can rely on like that faithful old stand-by shea butter. So when you name your company Shea Moisture—you pretty much know that you got the dollars of Black women. Make that ‘HAD the dollars of Black women’.
Shea Moisture got so much major push back after its most recent ad that it was actually a trending topic on social media. The problem–Shea Moisture wanted to be relevant and kind of went the “All Hair Matters” route. Here’s the ad that end’s with Shea Moisture posting on their website “we really f-ed this one up.”
Yep…like the ad says, “everybody gets love”–except Black women and men who have kept your business in business since 1912.
As soon as the ad went public, Black women (and men) went off!
The outrage is understandable. You take your hard earned money to support a product targeted for Black hair care only to feel the sting of betrayal. The ad campaign meant to expand the company’s profit by reaching out to women not using their product instead disrespected and isolated the core customers who have kept you afloat. Apparently, Shea Moisture learned absolutely nothing from Pepsi’s abject lesson in ‘how to create a TV commercial that will piss off all your customers’. The cola company had to swallow it’s pride and pull the ad after the same kind of social media backlash. And just like Pepsi, Shea Moisture was quick to admit it’s mistake….
Not all the comments on the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages were angry. Some people thought many were over reacting…others called for everybody to chill-it’s just a commercial. But there are bigger issues in the under current here.
First, maybe more Black professionals are needed in the PR arena because these companies keep putting together ads that totally disregard the power of the Black dollar. We may not be your target audience for tanning salons, but just about everything short of that means Blacks are helping to keep you in business. So why are Black consumers completely being ignored by these major companies?
Second, one comment mention that boycotting Shea Moisture is not what Black consumers should do…after all, it is a Black owned business. But what good is it to support Black owned companies if even they take your money and enroll in the school of thought that Black consumers don’t matter.
What do you think…should Blacks back away from Shea Moisture and stop using their products? Or is this just another simple mistake made by a big company?