Slurring Slogans Sell

Is provoking people of color the latest marketing trend? Amazon is in deep trouble for selling items with the slogan “slavery gets sh** done.” Just in early January, consumers dragged H&M down the mall and back after posting a tasteless advertisement of a black boy dressed in a hoodie with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

After extreme backlash from critics, Amazon quickly took the merchandise off their website. But with this controversy following just two weeks after the monkey mania, consumers are beginning to think that these poor choices of slogans might be on purpose. Twitter users are theorizing that sparking outrage from target customers to increase sales is the latest marketing move, and the thought isn’t too far-fetched.

In 2014, Urban Outfitters took similar heat for selling a “blood-stained” Kent State sweatshirt, inspired by the 1970 shootings that killed 4 and injured 9. Despite the backlash, the company said that it would continue selling controversial clothing because simply… it sells. Even in the 2016 U.S. election, Russians created over 400 fake Twitter accounts to start anti-Islamic dialogue.

Though consumers are unsure if these outlandish slogans are unintentional results of lack of representation in the office or just meant to ruffle feathers, one thing is for certain: the more people talk about it, the more promotion these companies get. Clever or crude?

~ Timia Whitsey
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