How Have Big Brands Gotten It Wrong

While Black influencers have impacted consumers across platforms, there is still a large misrepresenta­tion and underutilization of Black culture (everything from how Black motherhood is depicted on television to Black models in advertising and Black professionals in the workplace). Big brand campaigns are either not representing their diverse consumer bases or they are playing into stereotypes and pathologies that ultimately rob them of profit and genuine consumer engagement.

In recent years, some poorly conceptualized and/or executed marketing campaigns have resulted in backlash against those brands. Burger King and Toyota have both suffered setbacks as a result of their failure to properly market to their diverse consumer bases. In the case of Burger King, a botched campaign starring Mary J. Blige featured the singer playing into problematic stereotypes about Black people and fried chicken. Burger King’s intention was to use the singer to help market their crispy chicken wraps, b...

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