June 23, 2021

"Nassib could be recruited to star in ads for outspoken brands such as Nike or Gillette, which have previously produced commercials that address racial justice and harmful masculine stereotypes...."

I'm reading "Brands could flock to Nassib after historic coming out announcement" (Reuters). 

So... some companies are going to want to use Nassib, but — according to some marketing expert — they need to be concerned about looking like that's what they're doing. He says: "Rainbow-washing is real."

Rainbow-washing. I'd never noticed that term before, but Googling it, I see it's all over the place. I'll just choose one article: "Rainbow-washing is all the rage among the big corporations this month" (Mic):

Scrolling through your social media feeds, you're likely spotting more and more rainbow avatars as everyone celebrates Pride Month. Some change their avatars to signal they are part of the LGBTQ+ community, others to show their love and support. And then others — read: massive corporations that often have a history of discriminatory policies or affiliations with anti-LGBTQ+ politicians — try to use the rainbow flag as a Band-Aid to cover up all their insidious behavior during the rest of the year. There's a word for this: rainbow-washing.

So, originally the term referred to the rainbow visuals. It's a variation on the familiar term "white-washing," which, of course, isn't about white people but has to do with covering something with a layer of white paint. It's superficial and doesn't deal with deeper problems.  

The marketing expert in the Nassib article is using the term to go beyond rainbows to similarly superficial things.


Ann Althouse said...

Bill writes: "You don’t use white paint to white wash. It’s a solution of lime and water, sprayed onto walls, as in a dairy barn. Cheaper and faster than paint."

Actually, I know that and thought about it as I wrote what I wrote. Explaining why I made that choice, I'd have to say that I was being metaphorical about the metaphor, that there was an interposing layer of metaphor. I think the literal image when people use the metaphor "white wash" is of a layer of white paint, not literal white wash!

Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

The article is from Reuters, which also published an article this week- from the Reuters Institute- which proclaimed that the pandemic has increased trust in the pandemic. I put that in there just to paint a picture of the World of Reuters. It's not the world you live in.

Pew Research reported this week that the Twitter base is hardly representative of the public at large. Not even close. Twitter users are D+15, which would be approximately like the State of Vermont in their worldview. The 10% of Twitter users who post 92% of all tweets, are D+43. That's probably more far left than China. And 3% of the population creates 90% of all tweets. If you're the CEO of Delta, or Nike, or Gillette and you make decisions based on the 'likes' of a rabid activist claiming victimhood, you might want to stop, take a deep breath, fire your marketing director, and read the actual numbers on who uses and buys your products or services.

If I were a marketing director, or a corporate CEO who knew how to read numbers, or if I had my fingers on the pulse of my customer base, I would know that following Twitter, or the media (which lives on Twitter) is a huge mistake. Remember- the Democrats and the media have been relentlessly telling all of us that asking for Voter IDs was racist, and- per our current President- like Jim Crow 2.0. The reality is that over 80% of the American people want voter ID, including 62% of Democrats. Interesting that Democrats are now trying to tell us they were for it all along. If you reacted accordingly (and many companies did) you were insulting your customers yet again.

A couple of years ago Gillette managed to shoot itself in the foot with an ad campaign asking men to be more Beta. Their sales fell off almost immediately. Nike, Coca-Cola, Delta, and others have found, or are finding some bits of pushback for their stands on BLM, anti-racism and CRT, and the entire rainbow- if I can use that word- of Wokeism. But the reality is that the vast majority of their own customers do not agree with being preached at, being called racists, being manipulated to agree with things that simply are not a major topic in their days as they try to get through their lives. The bits of pushback are about to turn into serious pushback. And by that I mean, a large drop in sales. A drop in brand popularity with the people who actually use their service.

Never have I seen a greater disconnect between the mass customer base of major corporations and the decisions by their CEOs to to follow a very small, loud minority of Performance Victims in various causes célèbres. As Michael Jordan once put it "Republicans buy sneakers, too." Yes...we do. But not Nike. Not anymore.

Ann Althouse said...

R.T. O'Dactyl wrote:

I'm a bit surprised you didn't refer to the better-established term "pinkwashing." According to Wikipedia:

Pinkwashing is a term used to describe the action of using gay-related issues in positive ways in order to distract attention from negative actions by an organization, country or government. In the context of LGBT rights, it is used to describe a variety of marketing and political strategies aimed at promoting products, countries, people or entities through an appeal to gay-friendliness, in order to be perceived as progressive, modern and tolerant. This phrase, in reference to LGBT rights, was coined by Sarah Schulman in an op-ed piece for The New York Times entitled "Israel and Pinkwashing".

Perhaps the connotations of "pink" were a little *too* gay for a football player to use.

I hadn't noticed "pinkwashing" either, but it seems to be a less useful term. Seems more like the breast cancer awareness idea.