Da fuq? A Case Study on Hefty and Ebonics in Marketing
April 22, 2015 at 11:55 pm
In a new ad campaign, Hefty® Ultimate™ Cups teamed up with Havas Worldwide Chicago to “challenge traditional stereotypes of mothers that are seen as “wholesome caregivers for their children.” Lynnette Hinch, Director of Marketing for Hefty Cups, goes on to say that they are “giving moms permission to party harder with the ideal party cup from Hefty.”
Well, I have no problem with challenging stereotypes of stay-at-home mothers who are only expected to be concerned with baking cookies for PTA meetings and picking up kids from soccer practice. But I do have a problem with advertising agencies and brands dipping into AAVE (African American Vernacular English) aka Ebonics as a shock factor in their campaigns.
So, let’s talk about how much a fail these “trying-to-be-a-hip-Mom” monologues were… or as I prefer to call it:
How To Get Away with Terrible Marketing Using Ebonics 101
Thankfully these ads are collectively less than three minutes of torture. Pull up a seat!
In this ad called “Turnt,” the mother is putting away groceries and telling us about her experience from the night before. In less than a minute she manages to use “turnt,” “cray,” “thirsty,” “bae,” “basic,” and phrases like “bottles were poppin,” “sorry not sorry,” “pre-game,” “can’t even” and “side chicks.” Basically it’s a word vomit squished in to 30 seconds of nonsense.
Verdict: NOAP. No further comment.
“#Blessed” tells the story of a Mom and her “squad” “twerkin’” at a guy’s foam party the night before. It doesn’t stop there. She goes on to clap her hands quickly to emphasize “real talk,” mentions “salty side chicks,” and uses the phrase “bye Felicia.” The title of the ad immediately made think of Big Sean’s latest song “Blessings” featuring Drake, and at the very least, the mother could have had praying hands but the verdict is… Between the “real talk” accompanied with the clapping hands and the “#hashtag Blessed” I somehow have a loss for words.
Last, but not least… this one is arguably the *clears throat* most tolerable out of the three *tries not to gag*. The amount of Ebonics and slang used isn’t as painfully obvious as the others because there is a somewhat healthy mix between the line of thought of a mother and a teenager having a crazy night out. She even references the use of Snapchat, Twitter and Tinder, which would be a smart tactic for the other ads to leverage.
Nevertheless the verdict is…
So what are some takeaways from today’s lesson in “How To Get Away with Terrible Marketing Using Ebonics?”
1. Don’t make your ads sound like the Urban Dictionary threw up.
2. If you’re trying to challenge stereotypes of soccer Moms by making them sound cool, can they actually be funny? And refer to number one.
3. Hefty TRIED IT and failed miserably.
4. Do your research.
5. Hire more diverse staff since you’re so out of touch and be “color brave.”
Also, in terms of being funny, I didn’t LOL once. Hefty can join in with all the other brands who are trying to capitalize off AAVE and slang.
Ultimately, in the fictitious court of marketing via cultural appropriation, Hefty has been found guilty and charged with three counts of #BrandBlackFace — (the hashtag and concept coined by Simone Pratt).
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