Lars Voedisch, Founder and Managing Director of PRecious Communications was featured in The New Paper’s ‘Singapore News’ section on August 15, 2019, in an article titled ‘How to avoid repeating ‘brownface’ ad saga’.Tne Infocomm Media Development Authority issued a reminder to those who were involved in the controversial E-pay ad to take care of religious and racial sensitivities. The announcement featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew who portrayed other races by wearing a tudung and darkening his skin.
Here is Lars’ comment as featured in The New Paper’s article ‘How to avoid repeating the ‘brownface’ ad saga’
“Companies must know what is or is not socially acceptable. If and when you call out a specific segment of society, best to check with people from that group. Because sometimes you want to cause controversy if it steers the discussion. But at the end of the day, we should not get away with things that are not acceptable.”
Why Are We Talking About This?
With the advent of technology, we are exposed to a large amount of information on our fingertips. This has also brought about high levels of awareness among consumers, who are now looking to associate with socially responsible brands.
When a brand is committed to a social cause, it also helps to drive engagement and brand loyalty. It could be anything – from reducing environmental waste to making a socio-political statement. If communication is empathetic and socially conscious, it humanizes a company and helps to connect with customers.
Besides, it is best to include a diversified team during the ideation process, so that such controversies do not crop up in the future. Brands must be careful of unconscious discrimination that raises offence, primarily due to selective targeting or mockery.
All in all, a well-thought-out strategy and opinion of diverse races goes a long way in averting such a controversy. The E-pay ad will serve as a reminder to other brands to follow socially compliant norms, and be more human and sensitive in their approach!
Head over to Agility PR Solutions to get Lars’ full insight on the five trends which have started to shape the communications strategy of brands in 2019.