bayo finally does the right thing by recognizing their error, not making excuses for it, apologizing for their error and announcing they will pull out the offensive ad campaign.
By Francine M. Marquez, InterAksyon.com · Thursday, June 7, 2012 · 11:06 pm
On Thursday evening, an official statement issued by the company through its VP for Product Research and Development, Lyn Agustin, said: “We at BAYO deeply apologize for the message our campaign—‘What’s Your Mix?’—has unintentionally conveyed. We would like to express our regret to those who have been offended or felt discriminated against.
“Our company and our partners have always taken pride in being pro-Filipino as we continue to celebrate our uniqueness and achievements. We believe that being a Filipino will always make you 100% beautiful. It is unfortunate that this message got lost along the way.
“We thank everyone who has shown support for our thrust of promoting Filipino beauty, talent, and creativity.”
In a phone interview with Bayo’s GM Pinky Estrebillo, the clothing brand’s executive said that the company will also temporarily bring down all its billboards with the said ads. The campaign, she said, was conceptualized by its in-house creative team with the help of a consultant.
the statements of apology no longer come from the spokesperson but two other company officials. that is a good move. the spokesperson who released a statement first did not do a good job at it and we even think may have harmed the brand even more by attempting to rationalize their error.
they should have released the latest statement of apology and ad recall at the very start. people have been offended by the ads,. no amount of debate, argument or excuses can change that. making excuses for the error will only deepen the hurt and prolong the agony of a failed and insulting ad campaign.
what’s next for bayo?
1. new ad campaign – quick! they need to release a new ad campaign quickly. this may take longer than usual as they need to do some very serious thinking on the next ad campaign. this will be a tough assignment as the new ad campaign need to take into consideration the ill effects of mixed race ad campaign.
they need to find the correct balance. in a situation like this, doing too little and too much are both detrimental to the brand. will they ignore what happened? or will they recognize it?
very serious strategic thinking need to be applied on the next ad campaign. more importantly, they should do things other than just advertising. a holistic, strategy driven and integrated effort need to be done.
2. comprehensive PR campaign – now! while they are developing their new ads, they need to go on a PR offensive to smooth things out with the public and their target market.
equally important, they need to do a PR campaign for their suppliers, the malls that house their retail outlets and their employees. for sure many of their partners and employees feel demoralized from what happened. bayo needs to restore confidence and faith on the company and company management.
3. get rid of the consultant, do not engage in house communication group to do next ad campaign – the press statement said a consultant and their in house communication group did the ads. getting them to do the next ad campaign will be counter productive. getting them involve will not result to good things as they will for sure feel defensive and tainted.
4. re-train and re-tool in store dealing with customers by sales personnel - byo should not forget that being a retail operation, the company does have direct contact with their customers at the stores. theirs is unlike mass consumer goods marketers whose contact with the customers is mostly through advertising. people who buy a bottle of coke or sanitary napkin for example just go to the stores and buy the product, no other interaction takes place with the customer.
that is not true with retail stores. the clothing company actually has direct contact with their customers via the sales ladies in their retail stores. these sales ladies need to be given guidelines and training as to how they will behave and what to say to customers. for sure the bayo sales ladies will be faced with questions on the ad campaign by customers. they need to know what to say and how to say it.
5. completely drop the mixed race advertising campaign, not even with a ten foot pole – they should NOT, not even put a hint on the mixed race campaign.
the fact is the ad campaign they had was a race-driven campaign, it was not even about clothes or fashion, it was about race. race and religion are the two things in this world that no advertising or brand should have in their advertising campaign. race and religion are always very touchy subject matters where the line between doing good for the brand and doing bad is a very, very thin line.
to begin with, the advertising strategy for their mixed race ad campaign was a total failure. the ad campaign was selling the idea of mixed-fashion which is not unique to their brand and something that other clothing companies can claim. it is a very generic claim that does not build brand equity for them.
just to simplify the point, they could have for example sold their clothing line on the basis of having the best yellow color in the industry. that is ownable and unique . mixed fashion is not.
the ad campaign was selling the idea of mixed race, zeroing in on the celebrity talents they had in their ads. race has nothing to do with clothes or fashion.
this ad campaign is a celebrity endorsement ad campaign gone wrong and done badly. they took the idea of celebrity endorsement ad campaign to the extreme – selling their endorsers instead of the product which is clothes.
this is the weakness of the philippine advertising industry as a whole. the ad industry in this country knows nothing else but celebrity endorsement ad campaigns. a huge 80% to 90% of the total ads aired on tv and radio and published in print feature celebrity endorsers. celebrity endorsement has become a go-to ad campaign concept for the industry. it has become the default ad campaign concept.
the bayo mixed-race ad campaign has taken that ad campaign concept to the extreme that they were already selling the mixed race element of their celebrity endorser rather than the clothes they were supposed to advertise.
in developing all of the above, the company needs to face the fact that they have offended the general public and their target market. not only that, most people will now know them as the clothing brand that insulted the filipino. that is no easy issue to face.
~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
carlo p arvisu