By now, you may have heard about the Shea Moisture backlash regarding their advertising campaign which is trending on social media right now. If not, you can find the story here
It is very unfortunate that Shea Moisture, the pioneer of the natural hair care industry, has made the biggest marketing fail by undermining the natural hair community which has built their company with their products made for and about black women.
The brand was recently one of the first to push their hair care products onto the mainstream beauty aisles in national beauty retail outlets. Due to the high demands to appease mainstream, their marketing team has mis-communicated their entire branding message and purpose resulting in offending their primary customer base by slighting their customers with a newly released commercial that was quickly pulled off media channels.
Their poor judgment in misrepresenting their brand effectively will cost billions in revenue after backlash from customers that will no longer purchase their products. (Another company in the doghouse).
Shea Moisture really should have thought ahead about how their loyal customers would feel. Until companies understand their bottom line, they will continue to make ridiculous mistakes. This mishap simply could have been avoided by understanding the history of natural hair terminology and making a commercial targeted to women across all races and hair textures without bringing up major issues that only affect African-American women with the issues they deal with on a regular basis and by not minimizing the real struggles black women has faced for generations with wearing their natural hair texture
The whole natural hair movement started because black women couldn’t find the right products, had no knowledge, methods and proper maintenance on how to care for their unique hair textures. Now, the mainstream has coined the term “Natural hair” without understanding the terminology and past history by transforming the word to mean something completely different with no representation of a black woman (with at least an afro, twist out, lock or cornrow style) in the commercial.
They have blurred lines and missed the whole purpose and reason for pushing their products onto the mainstream beauty aisle. The public relations message is off and they have confused their primary consumer. I’m not saying they have to use a black woman on every commercial if they decided to expand their brand but their messaging has to be on point.
They can’t blend black women hair problems with white or bi-racial women’s hair issues. They should have simply addressed problems that they face like split ends, thinning, dandruff, frizziness or limp tresses OR they could have just added a black woman in the commercial who had kinky, natural hair since that was the primary customer who built their brand. Understanding the consumer, proper terminology, and target market could have avoided such stupid mistakes.
The Lesson Learned: Never bite the hand who feeds you.
As customers, fans and supporters, quickly discontinue use of their products to find a substitute, which will not be hard to replace, many in the mainstream are probably scratching their heads wondering why the outrage and left with the question what they did wrong.
Until black women are properly represented and acknowledged in mainstream media, as well as understood how far and wide this issue goes, the best recourse is paying attention to the amount of buying power that lies in their pocketbooks. As the saying goes, money talks….
Over the years, this blog has provided extensive product reviews on Shea Moisture. I also found out that Shea Moisture also owns Nubian Heritage which was bought out. This is a double whammy.
Feel free to leave your comments below. Would love to hear what products you will substitute for the Shea Moisture brand or if you will stick with the brand despite their marketing flop.