No Such Thing as Bad Publicity..?

It’s become increasingly apparent that any type of media companies or brands develop is open to deep scrutiny from the public eye. So why do we continue to experience tone-deaf, casually racist marketing initiatives? Previously, our Chief Marketing Officer for the Kaleidoscope Group, Chris Bintliff, outlined “3 Ways to Avoid Diversity Disaster’s in your Marketing” and highlighted multiple times, recently, where big brands have suffered quite the diversity disaster. Heineken is our most recent victim with their now nonexistent “Sometimes, lighter is better” campaign.

Why does this keep happening? These big companies MUST be aware by now? Yet, we continue to see tasteless campaigns – that get set on fire by socialites – said company is now trending – company takes their slap on their wrist and continues operating/performing – next campaign gets more attention.

I’m not trying to build some huge conspiracy, there’s enough of those floating around these days. But frankly, we are all operating at a new level of consciousness in today’s society and to say you had a blatant blind spot that was never addressed until the entire world saw your ad leads me to believe there may be some underlying understanding that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity”. We are talking about global companies who understand and exploit the diversity of their markets to maximize profits.

Not only are we more socially conscious, but also more socially active – we live in a time where a hashtag can create a movement and ultimately real change. A minority voice has the platform to establish and leverage itself where maybe before the lack of accessibility stiffened it’s ability to move a message forward. So with this new found power we must responsibly allocate our attention and intention. It’s not enough to simply raise awareness of a wrongdoing. Ultimately, all this does is develop brand recognition and keep them top of mind. To achieve the intended goal we must demand a higher level of Conscious Inclusion from these companies and STOP giving them their desired (or “undesired”) attention until we see serious effort to change the way they operate and think about diversity.

In today’s era, collectively, we hold the keys to relevance. So together we must act responsibly and consciously to hold these Brands to our standards. Let’s stop the conversation for the sake of conversing and shift towards creating the change we want. Otherwise “No Such Thing as Bad Publicity” will continue to drive toxic content into the marketplace. So before you hashtag, retweet, share or post… think about your objective and create an opportunity for positive impact!


Alexander Giraldo
Design Consultant