H&M’s Marketing Mistake Leads to Protests and Social Media Backlash

By: Marilyn Duarte

H&M has received serious heat after choosing a black child to model a hoodie that read “The Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. The product went viral Sunday night on social media. People were outraged, disappointed, and offended. Others believed that this was blown way out of proportion. This is not a good look for H&M and has prompted protests and broken partnerships.

“Boycott. There is no excuse. There is a lengthy review process for ads, and they pass through a lot of hands. Your company knew what it was doing- Twitter user”

The issue is one that could have been prevented so easily. H&M issued an apology on Twitter stating:

“We understand that many people are upset. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.

We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print.Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering.

Its obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.” — H&M Twitter

Some people decided to take matters into their own hands by protesting outside of H&M stores. Others decided to actually go into H&M stores and trash them. Knocking over clothes racks and kicking down mannequins.

This form of protesting is one that I am fully against. I do not believe that the workers of these H&M stores deserve this. I do not feel it’s the best way to get a message out there. It has made the lives of these store workers more difficult considering they never had any input or say into the designing and marketing of the hoodie. These protests has caused H&M to temporarily close all of their South African stores and left plenty of workers without a job who will now lose income that some may need to pay bills, feed their children, and well you get the point.

Companies need to be more careful with how they market products. H&M is a clear example of what could happen if things are not reviewed carefully taking into consideration the potential effects a marketing decision can have on their audience.

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