Supermarket Shelves

A tale of three brands (Quick thoughts on a Friday afternoon…)

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I only came across the term ‘woke-washing‘ very recently, but as with any new discovery, once I’d heard of it I started seeing it everywhere! So as a quick download on a Friday afternoon, here’s three current tv ads brought to mind:

Brand 1: Cadburys visually very clever ‘wordless’ wrappers highlighting the plight of the lonely elderly. Cadburys however being vilified for congratulating themselves on this campaign, whilst managing to pay £0p UK tax – see the full analysis in the excellent piece by Marketing Week here.

Brand 2: Gillette, being accused of jumping on the bandwagon with their ‘controversial’ videos calling out toxic masculinity. The traditional tagline being re-tuned to ‘The best a mean can BE’.

Brand 3: Maybe I have my head in the ground but I’ve not seen anything anywhere calling out Wrigley’s Chewing gum for their, frankly beyond awful, tv advert – the gist of which is, Dad catches his daughter and her boyfriend, in her bedroom, ‘in the act’, but (and here’s the clever twist) because the boyfriend is cocky about it and is chewing gum, instead of the beating he deserves* the father gives him the world’s most inappropriate ‘go on my son’ nod of approval. (*Speaking as a dad of two teenage daughters. The Boardroom does not condone violence.)

My 2Ps worth:

Cadbury’s yes, probably rather hypocritical. From a marketing perspective, they should have considered the optics of their bigger context. Perhaps on a wider more ethical note also given some thought to how they might be slightly betraying their original founding Quaker values.

Gillette – Well I know they’re a big corporate, and all corporates are evil. But I do like the way they (or their well-paid advertising agency) are demonstrating not only a sense of humour, but also that times are a-changing. Is this a cynical move, well you know what, maybe it is, but nonetheless I’m still glad to see toxic masculinity being called out, and being made to look what it is – anachronistic and destructive. Well done Gillette – about time!

Wrigley – Ok, possibly no attempt at woke-washing here, but perhaps the opposite of it. Surely this is just shameless sexual innuendo and the very essence of ‘only men will get this’ toxicity. How can we call out Cadbury’s and Gillette, and let this one slide by without comment? Remember that someone at Wrigley approved this. Someone actually voted for the ‘go on my son’ nod between the father and the 50% dressed, 100% smug-faced, boyfriend in flagrante, thinking it was somehow cool or relatable to their target audience. I mean, how does this kind of attitude even exist today, let alone make it through a corporate approval process and onto our screens?

There. Rant, just about, over. Me, I’d rather have some good done even for arguably cynical reasons, than no good. We live in a thankfully free world, so your views may differ. Happy to hear them.

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