Another week, another well-established company completely mucking up what they hoped would be a routine advertising rollout. This time, in the wake of Pepsi, it’s Shea Moisture coming under fire for a decidedly tone deaf ad. In the spot, which some customers are more upset about than others, two white women and one black women smile and touch their hair in a normal “hey this is a great hair commercial way!” but it doesn’t pan out as normally as any other hair commercial. The latter, who is the target consumer that the company was specifically founded for, talks in the spot about how she was bullied because of her natural hair.
Which would be a great message in line with the company’s long-time values if it weren’t for the other half of the commercial, where the white women confess to to disliking their hair sometimes because of limpness or drab color. The message — to “break free from hair hate” — would be an uplifting tag line if it didn’t implicitly equate being bullied because of natural hair with disliking your hair because of a lack of volume. Devoted customers of the brand, suffice to say, were not happy about that comparison.