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  • bwmdgroup

When activism becomes action

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues hold collective global attention we are seeing brands take actions that will significantly change the shape of their future. While many organisations have taken to various channels to show their support of the movement in words, many were also faced with answering tough questions from their consumers.

As time moves forward brands are forced to rethink images, lines and internal policies as consumers expect them to behave in line with their proclaimed values.

A few noteworthy examples of brands enacting significant, socially progressive changes that will at least temporarily cause a hit to their bottom line:

Johnson & Johnson will be removing two lines of skin 'lightening' products in Asia and The Middle East. While the remaining products won't be removed from shelves, production will cease into the future. They have also announced a greater tonal range for their Band-Aid products.

Allen's Lollies have announced the changing of names and associated imagery for iconic brands; Redskins and Chicos (the US NRL team of the same name have yet to take any action)


Aunt Jemima's maple syrup have agreed to change their imagery and name due to racial stereotyping

For similar reasons Uncle Ben's Rice announced that they are also in the process of changing their imagery and name

Locally, Colonial Brewing Co have released an emotional response to criticism, saying that they are in the process of reviewing their name and working in the interests of their consumers, after alcohol store Blackhearts and Sparrows removed the beer from their shelves. It remains to be seen what their final decision will be.

As these moves indicate a shift away from imagery and wording that cause offence it will be interesting to see which other brands follow suit, and how thoroughly companies consider future product branding and communication.

Zara Cooper

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