It was meant to celebrate those brands by assuming your favorite brand supported Equal Marriage Rights - unless that brand stated otherwise.
It was social media experiment on brand transparency, but we’ve now decided to end it (see below).
After some editing today, those remaining on this page will be the brands who have confirmed their support.
The idea of the page was obvious in the heading.
The entire point was to ’assume’ that any of the brands featured here supported the cause - until it was to be confirmed or denied.
To be clear, contrary to what some blogs may have stated – no brand has responded to this Tumblr page directly ‘asking to distance themselves’ from supporting Equal Marriage Rights.
Only brands that have confirmed they do support the cause, or otherwise requested, will remain on the site.
How was it supposed to work:
We wanted to start a conversation with brands in social media about the brands people love.
People would send in images of the brands they loved, shown to be supporting Equal Marriage Rights in the style of HRC logo as many other brands have been circulating. We’d keep the post up, assuming that’s what the brand supports.
So all we wanted was for brands to verify.
Since these brands all have a social media presence, with social media managers whose job it is to know what’s happening across social media, they’d see the site and respond. Especially when it reached media they are tuned into, as we intended (and it did).
Then, brands would have the opportunity to:
- either leave it be, assuming they do support Equal Marriage Rights.
- confirm their support for Equal Marriage Rights.
- or ask that it be removed, assuming they do not support Equal Marriage Rights.
It was also clarified that brands could contact us with any reason they wanted their image removed, and we would post that reason. So, a brand could decide to come out with a ‘neutral’ stance on the issue and we could post that as well.
Either way, every brand was being asked to not remain silent and to join this conversation.
What actually happened:
The obvious language - and point made in the intro - that these were just ‘assumptions’ went ignored by some in social media.
Images were sent in, uploaded and shared just like content on any other Tumblr page (or any image sharing site on the net), where similar images are shared.
The press picked up on the page immediately, as was intended.. Many brands reached out to confirm their support. Other brands remained silent.
Unfortunately though, some in social media brought their own interpretation to the intent of this blog, which is why we ended it:
- 1st, we think it’s important to point out that this Tumblr was not meant to be – nor ever stated to be – ‘shaming’ brands into having to take a stand (as one writer had mislabeled it). It was meant to be celebratory; to celebrate love and equality by showing people’s favorite brands supporting it. If a brand was against Marriage Equality, we’d post that we wished they were for it. Or we’d replace the image with a statement on their stance (ie; neutral).
- 2nd, it’s also important to point out that none of the brands beyond those confirmed on this page ever contacted us to ask to be removed, nor did we ever state that.
So, we can’t draw a conclusion on whether or not a brand ever supported the issue or not, unless they did reach out to confirm. Nobody can.
(For any specific brands you may still be wondering about, there should be another way to ask them outright where they stand on the issue. We’d like to know as well. The question still is - how can you get them to answer?)
Why did we create this page?
We wanted people to know where their favorite brands stood on this human rights issue. Some brands had already come right out in support beforehand. But others remained silent on the issue, while still marketing to the groups that do support equal rights. Those were the brands we were most interesting in hearing from, and wish we had.
While nothing is inherently wrong with a brand ‘not taking sides on an issue’, if a corporation that created that brand actively fights, or has fought against - or in any way lobbied against - those equal rights, they already are taking a side. They’re just trying not to associate their ‘brand’ with their actions. But we feel brands should be transparent about who they really are.
Why should a ‘brand’ be transparent?
In an age of pervasive mass-marketing and artificially constructed ‘brands’ that tap into, and affect, our culture, brands are more than just their marketing.
'Brands' do not exist in a vacuum. A brand is owned by a company, a corporation, or a conglomerate. And it is run by people.We may often forget that, under the layers of marketing gloss brands exist under, they're run by real human beings at every level.
So, ‘brands’ are what and who they are to their core - from how they’re run…to what they do…to what they promise to be.
Today, brands can’t expect to only have the ‘conversations’ they want to have with their consumers, just for profit. They have to have the conversations their consumers want to have. The conversations that will increasingly be brought to them.
This was intended as one of those conversations.
So what will remain after this?
A collection of brands that are confirmed support Equal Rights, and the cause. Brands that people love and have sent in. And these brands have stood up and confirmed they support their customers. That’s not brands being marketers. That’s just brands being human.