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Are Some Brands Using Black Outrage To Make Profit?

Are Some Brands Using Black Outrage To Make Profit?

Even if you are not a regular Twitter user, you must be aware of the power of social media outrage. It's nothing new. Controversial columnists have used Twitter and other social media platforms to spread articles, and let outraged people to the work for them. Sometimes it is hard not to see the racial dimension to these sorts of mechanisms. However, more recently, it seems that brands have been involved in the same processes.

Yesterday, Swedish clothing brand H&M apologised after causing shock and outrage by placing a black child model in a hoody that read 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle'. They took down the offending photo, but not before it had become a trending topic and had prompted several articles.

The Weeknd announced that he was cutting all ties with them due to their ill-advised photo, a reaction which garnered yet more publicity and awareness.

H&M is not the only brand to face a social media backlash in recent months or years for moves that have proved offensive. But some are questioning whether these are oversights, or concerted efforts to court outrage in order to generate further awareness.

Back in October last year, beauty brand Dove was criticised for releasing an advert that appeared to show a black woman turning into a white one after using their body lotion.

Again, there was a social media backlash, the brand apologised, but not without inflaming tensions and tempers yet again.

In both cases, people have debated whether or not these were done intentionally to provoke outrage. As companies with millions of existing customers, some argued that announced boycotts would cause little harm to their bottom line - and the publicity itself could actually increase their sales. Some wondered that such mistakes - if they were indeed unintentional missteps - would have been avoided with more diverse teams involved in decision making.

Of course some people clapped back with satirical images.

His parents response.

But the question still remains, and this won't be the last time it is asked.

What do you think? Do brands provoke outrage on purpose? Is it just a consequence of not having enough diverse voices?

Let us know what you think in the comments and on Twitter. Let's keep this discussion going.

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