As the USA flares up in nationwide protests and riots in response to the death of George Floyd last week at the hands of a white police officer in an alleged act of racism, American companies are making their stand clear online.
As individuals across social media stage virtual protests, walkouts, and change their profile images to all black in an event being dubbed the “BlackTuesday”, corporate America too is doing its bit. In an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Black community against a case of systemic racism in the country, brands across sizes and industries have been taking a stand against racism and vocally endorsing their support for diversity and inclusiveness across their social media and other communication channels.
Over the last two-three days, mostly all American brands have suspended their regular marketing communications and replaced them with posts, messages, emails, and profile picture changes to reflect their stand on the issue.
Sportswear major Nike was one of the first major brands to put up a video message in support of the movement. It turned its iconic “Just do it” tagline into “For once don’t do it” with the copy “Don’t pretend there’s no problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. For once don’t do it.”
Amazon US was one of the first major corporates to update its Twitter in support of the Black community in the country.
— Amazon (@amazon) May 31, 2020
Marvel Studios followed.
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) May 31, 2020
Both Youtube and Twitter changed their profile image, header and bio on Twitter to stand in solidarity.
AirBnb went on to announce a $500,000 donation to the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter organizations.
With a focus on standing for diversity and inclusion, Intuit and Salesforce too put out posts against racism.
Companies like Loreal, Peloton, Zillow, Spotify and others twisted their own taglines and brand messaging to fit the anti-racism narrative.
Update: On June 3rd, American toy maker giant Lego announced it’s donating $4mn to supporting black children and causes related to education children on equality.
Many small companies also put out special emailers with talking points on supporting the black community, donation links, links to black literature and other support bases.
A few notable American brands that have so far refrained from participating in the conversation about the situation are Walmart, Dell, Uber, Coke, and Pepsi.
The near synchronised brand messaging has also come with its own share of criticism. Some are accusing the brands of using the Black Lives Matter movement as a marketing prop. There’s an account that went so far as sharing a satirical meme on the boilerplate template of the stand taken by the companies on social media implying its hollowness.
A statement from [Brand]® pic.twitter.com/XT9tXF9hvz
— Chris Franklin (@Campster) May 31, 2020
It’s not the first time that companies have let their marketing feeds take a socio-political tinge. But the current massive stands taken by the companies against racism triggered by George Floyd’s unfortunate death comes as a reminder that corporates and politics can barely function in silos anymore. In a world where people are increasingly expecting the companies they support to leverage their large platforms to raise their voice, the companies that don’t, could stand to lose more than just loyalty of their customers.