This week the clothing retail giant created a Twitter storm with its somewhat ill-advised response to a Cape Town customer’s criticism over the lack of black models in its global marketing campaigns.
It started with this tweet from Tlalane Letlhaku:
@hmsouthafrica I was at your CT store.Most, if not all your posters in store have no black models.Please work on that to appeal to everyone.
— Tlalane Letlhaku (@Tlaly_Branch) November 2, 2015
H&M replied to Letlhaku’s comment in a four-part tweet saying: “H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential for us to convey a positive image. We want our marketing to show our fashion in an inspiring way, to convey a positive feeling.”
The retailer went on to say: “We work with a wide range of models and personalities throughout all our marketing both online, outdoor and in store. Our marketing policy, campaign productions and work is something we constantly discuss internally and with creative professionals.”
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The bizarre response drew widespread criticism from the Twitterverse with many voicing their outrage.
so @hmsouthafrica doesn’t use black models because they don’t portray a ‘positive image’? pic.twitter.com/Hnp3LLgrK5
— Sian Ferguson (@sianfergs) November 5, 2015
@Gabzee_M@hmsouthafrica is basically saying Black people are not Good enough for their brand cos black doesn’t convey positive vibes. wow!
— ❤BaehighNess❤ (@MizzKAYPweddy) November 5, 2015
The retailer was quick to apologise for the ill-advised tweet issuing a social media statement expressing its “regret” for the response.
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“In no way does H&M state that positivity is linked to an ethnic group. H&M is a proudly global brand that embraces all people who are inspired by fashion, regardless of ethnic background, gender or culture,” it tweeted.
H&M regrets the response to a social media message that was recently aired and wishes to clarify the intention. pic.twitter.com/IybEBotudU — hmsouthafrica (@hmsouthafrica) November 5, 2015
Do you think this blunder will affect the turn out at the H&M Sandton store opening tomorrow?