“The logo I sport is the face of the monkey
Union made, Ben Davis quality, it’s no junk see” – Beastie Boys
Admittedly this was going to be about the Holidays and what I deem pointless, beyond the days off work… But as we are in a time of social media and I am also a slave to the Gram I must address the viral elephant in the room. Or better yet, in this case, the Monkey on the sweater. By now I’m sure we have all heard of the H&M ad featuring the little black boy, awfully adorned in a sweater emblazoned with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. An advertisement that caused a monsoon of backlash with accusations of racism. Now whether you see the wrong in this, or excuse it as a minor PC infraction to be ignored for “bigger” problems, allow me to give a different perspective. The theory is simple, although the practice is complex, Racism is a Marketing plan. That’s it! More than any other incident this one was what made it excruciatingly clear to me. You can present all your “reasons” and EXCUSES and lay them at the foot of my empathy, in hopes of being knighted as sensible, but I’m sorry this King, much like the King James of the NBA is not amused. It’s hard for me to believe that an international company, who does millions of dollars of research on culture and trends in any of the countries they are even considering putting their stores in, is oblivious to the racial unrest AROUND THE WORLD. No one in the marketing department thought “hey maybe this isn’t a good idea”. It passed various levels of executive scrutiny and flew through all possible reflag throwers to make it onto the internet?!?! Yea right!!! My logical mind can only conclude that this was done on purpose. Now I’m not saying that there was a great conspiracy plotted to further oppress black people around the world, by reinforcing a stereotype by displaying negative images in media. That would just get dismissed by many of you as over the top scheme, from a very creative mind. So, I’ll stick to a much more viable motivation for such a “mishap”. Money!! Again, it’s just that simple. Two phrases that we hear repeatedly “Controversy sells” and “All publicity is good publicity”. They are telling us they are willing to do whatever it takes for promotion and marketing which leads to the root of all evil, MONEY! Think about it. Almost anyone who has some form of social media was focused on this topic for at least 24 hours. Sharing pictures, opinions, and even the brand logo of the company. What better promo can you possibly ask for! Yea you lose a few customers who feel strongly about the ad, but not the ones who count their money more than they ever count their morals, which is unfortunately most of us. All you must do is wait out an easily bored society, that will quickly forget this crisis as soon as another one shows itself. Just make it as subtle as possible so that not only can no one can definitively prove that it was done on purpose but also make it easy to dismiss the outrage by most of those it doesn’t directly affect. Then you just put up a few sale signs, in the stores, and add in a member of said affected community to dismiss the practice as “nothing” and telling their own to “get over it” and it’ll all blow over. And much to their credit, that’s exactly how it works! As a result, I’m not sure who’s more to blame, the customers or the company. I’m not so sure who the bigger monkey in this jungle is.
Slang Hugh can be found on instagram @slanghugh