Brand inclusivity attempts often backfire


Dominique Moise

When businesses try to be “inclusive”, they often fail.

James Bryant, Reporter

Every June, companies incorporate aspects of pride month through any products of promotions they are releasing. They add a rainbow or a quote that shows their support for the community, but don’t actually go to much, if any, length to help the minority they’re supposedly representing. Some even go all out and change all their social media profiles and other company items to match the celebration for a certain group – but that is where the support often ends. 

February is Black History month, March is Women’s History month, June is Pride month, and Spanish Heritage month is from September to October. These months are commonly used by companies to advertise their products, often altering their logo to match the design. For example, on International Women’s Day in 2018, Pringles changed their logo from their usual man with a mustache to a Miss Pringles. While they may be showing their support for the group, their intentions of doing it are often questioned. 

Once these celebration months come around, many companies use this to their advantage to gain income for themselves. They use social media to promote any products of theirs, and design a logo or incorporate something that involves the celebratory month. Many companies do this expecting support from the groups they’re targeting, but oftentimes it backfires because it doesn’t actually benefit the community the brand is supposedly advocating for in the first place. 

In June of 2022, Bud Light advertised rainbow colored beers for pride month and changed the meanings of the LGBTQ letters to “Let’s Grab Beers Tonight Queens.” Obviously, the community did not appreciate those words, and the advertisement completely backfired. The community found it disrespectful, and found the words to be mocking. Many people felt that if someone wants to show support to them, having a play for words, or throwing rainbow colors everywhere, doesn’t give them appreciation. Instead, if you truly support them, then doing work with the community, or promoting them, helps the situation not feel like a mockery. 

A similar instance was when Walmart started selling T-shirts and other items for Juneteenth back in 2022. Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the free slaves, who were emancipated. In today’s world of advertising and social media, you see a lot of people posting or selling items that are involved with the holiday. By doing this, it takes away from the true meaning of the holiday, and people are just profiting off of it. A person doesn’t need to sell or buy products to show appreciation of a holiday, but instead study those who were a part of this significant event, and celebrate the holiday for how it was meant to be celebrated. 

One thing that most people don’t appreciate about these companies is their loyalty. For example, once February comes for Black History Month, or June comes for pride month, they change their designs on products and stores, to show support for their groups. But once the month is over, you don’t see much of their support anymore. This makes you think that they only do this for the money, so the people they are advertising for can buy their products. Whether their intentions are truly good or not, putting more effort into showing support for diverse groups is needed.