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After heaps of criticism of the racial stereotype of a Black man in a bow tie portrayed on the rice packaging, the goods supplier, Mars, has made the decision to rebrand and remarket the rice.
The rebrand has come after 70 years of the packaging being on shelves. The company is still looking for new and forward-thinking ways to remarket the quick-cook rice. The rebrand also includes a new slogan, to ‘create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table’, meant to signal the brand’s aim to create a more inclusive future.
Although some may argue this is a result of the latest rise in popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement, rebrands such as this have been a long time coming. Back in 2007, wired reported that "Mars is revamping the original spokesmodel for Uncle Ben's Rice – but instead of being a smiling, servant "Negro" ala ads from the 1940s, he'll be just "Ben," the wealthy African-American chairman of an imaginary rice company."
Uncle Ben's rice is rooted in racism, giving homage to the vile and cruel nature of slavery. Although Mars is remarketing the rice to remove any offensive imagery, are they 70 years too late?
Mars Food global president of multi sales and global customers, Fiona Dawson, had this to say,
“Over the past several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own associates and other stakeholders from around the world,”
“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.”
Mars is one of many to change their marketing strategy due to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Quaker Oats, Eskimo Pie and Gheechie Boy Mill are among others who are taking a step back and rethinking their old-fashioned way of marketing.
However, is it too late? Should these brands have stepped up earlier?
During lockdown, the retail company, Next, turned off their marketing, saving them £21 million!
The retailer turned off its digital marketing, stopped printing catalogues and cut its investment in photography. Cheif Executive, Lord Wolfson, told Marketing Week that, “The reason we turned off the marketing was because during lockdown we had to shut our warehouses in order to make them Covid safe and it took us two weeks to do that,”
“The process of ramping the warehouses back up took five weeks as we re-inducted all of our staff in groups of two or three people. It took us a long time to get everybody back in the warehouse safely and that meant we had much more demand than our warehouses could serve with the capacity available, so we were shutting our website at 11am or 12pm in the middle of the day. In that situation, the reason we stopped is there’s no point in marketing if you’ve already got more demand than you can cope with.”
The company made a profit of £9 million up to July 2020, a 97% decrease from 2019. Full-price sales fell 33% compared to 2019, while total group sales dropped 34% to £1,356.8m. Online sales, although dropping by 14%, performed much better than in-store. However, prior to Covid-19, online sales already made up more than 50% of sales.
Next hopes to grow from the pandemic, which many found difficult and traumatising, and bring profits rising in the back end of 2020. Hopefully, the Festive season will help build the brand back up to its former glory!
5G has had a pretty rough start since its first announcement in 2017. Misinformation and fake news spread across platforms created mass conspiracies and fears over the new technology.
In April of 2020, an organised group of conspiracy theorists in Belfast, Merseyside and Birmingham torched 5G phone masts in an attempt to stop the use of 5G. Mobile UK stated that around 77 towers were attacked that month, despite the intentions of the conspiracy theorists, most of these masts weren't 5G enabled.
Does 5G even have a future?
The reputation of 5G has been polluted by toxic sources, moving people away from the technology. However, people have and always will be afraid of the latest ideas they can't explain or fathom.
Communications consultant and tech journalist Will Guyatt says, “It is now polluted. My 71-year-old mom uses a Motorola mobile and she says she doesn’t ever want 5G.”
The product is “inherently damaged“, he says, and the mobile companies have ”failed to clear it up”.
“From 4G to 5G, we‘ve gone from a faster device to one that can ‘control your mind can sterilise your children’. Maybe we‘re entering a period where some people think new tech is good and others think it is evil.”
The negative marketing of 5G, although showing the power marketing can have, has massively damaged its public image. Unless some serious money is put into debunking the myths through extensive marketing, 5G could be far too gone...