Patagonia, REI join Facebook boycott, and TikTok users say they trolled Trump’s rally: Monday Wake-Up Call
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Patagonia and REI have joined The North Face in a boycott on advertising on Facebook, as pressure grows on the social media network to change how it handles hate speech and disinformation. Patagonia’s boycott, which includes Instagram, is effective immediately, reports Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli and Garett Sloane. It will run “at least through the end of July, pending meaningful action from the social media giant,” said Cory Bayers, head of marketing at Patagonia, in a statement.
REI said via Twitter on Friday that it will be pulling all of its Facebook and Instagram advertising for July. Its move followed that of The North Face earlier that day. The outdoor retailers, all of which have a history of speaking out on social issues, made their decisions following calls last week from civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League, which took out a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times calling for an ad boycott of Facebook.
Meanwhile, agencies are also putting pressure on Facebook; last week 360i sent a note to clients to suggest re-evaluating relationships with Facebook and a social media executive from IPG Mediabrands issued a LinkedIn post that demanded more accountability from the social network.
Having already been hugely successful in entertaining people in coronavirus lockdown, TikTok's teenage user base is now also taking credit for a political victory. Users of the platform are claiming they are responsible, along with fans of Korean “K-pop,” for the failure of huge crowds to turn up at President Trump’s rally in Tulsa this weekend, by registering thousands of tickets for the event and then deliberately not taking them up. For example, The New York Times reports that “One woman joked, 'Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,' along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.”
After footage of the rally showed large numbers of empty seats, teenagers celebrated online, while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York was also among those tweeting about the prank, saying that the rally had “got ROCKED by teens on TikTok.” However, Brad Parscale, the chairman of the Trump re-election campaign, has refuted the claims, saying in a statement that “Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don't know what they're talking about or how our rallies work.”
Dreyer’s Eskimo Pie is the latest brand to announce a name change in the wake of the racial injustice protests and the death of George Floyd. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 100-year-old ice cream brand is rethinking its branding, which includes a logo of a person wearing a fur-trimmed parka, because it realizes the Eskimo name is “derogatory.”
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory,” Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, said in a statement.
Eskimo Pie joins the likes of Aunt Jemima’s, Uncle Ben’s and others in changing its branding in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. In Asia, meanwhile, Colgate-Palmolive Co. is “reviewing” its branding of Darlie toothpaste in Asia, 30 years after the company took the half-step of changing the name from “Darkie” but left “Black Person Toothpaste” written in Chinese on packaging.
Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. are the among the latest brands to promise more diversity at corporate levels. Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing writes that Gap has topped the homepages of its brands’ websites with pledges to double Black and Latinx representation. And in a letter sent to employees, it pledges that by 2025, it will double Black and Latinx employees “at all levels in our U.S. HQ offices” and increase representation of Black employees in Store Leader roles by 50 percent.
Meanwhile, Levi Strauss published data around its diversity lineup for the first time in its history, admitting that it doesn't look good. The data reveals how the company’s diversity makeup “declines as the corporate ladder ascends,” Levi’s wrote in an Instagram post linked to a blog post discussing the company’s efforts. Only 5 percent of Levi Strauss & Co. corporate staff is Black, and only 2 percent of its executive level is Black. “The numbers reveal dire underrepresentation that requires immediate action and a sustained effort to correct,” said the brand.
Removed: Fortnite has removed police cars from its game, reports the Wall Street Journal, apparently following the death of George Floyd. Fortnite owner Epic Games hasn’t yet commented on the move, but “their sudden omission has drawn attention on social media, where people have debated whether it was a politically motivated decision,” says the Journal.
Doughnut deal: Krispy Kreme is getting nationwide retail distribution for the first time in a deal struck with Walmart for its latest product launches, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. Walmart will be the exclusive partner for the debut of the company’s new doughnut bites and mini crullers.
Recommended reading: With many Americans now looking for ways to better educate themselves on what it means to be anti-racist, a trio of industry staffers have created the Racial Justice Bookshelf, a platform that offers to help by recommending literature. Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz writes that the project houses a collection of links to books about the African American and Black experience, spanning categories including biography, history, sociology and young adult. What's more, clicking on any one directs you to a list of Black-owned businesses where the books can be purchased.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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