As some of you know, Target released an ad in February celebrating a black woman–owned company that sells feminine products and it sparked a flood of negative online reviews where people and bots accused the company of being “racist” to white people. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, spotlighting an African-American owned business is now considered racist by racists.
It seems the biggest outrage came from a moment in the ad where Honey Pot Founder, Beatrice Dixon said,
“The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well, is so the next black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.”
This, apparently, prompted some folks to effectively lose their minds online. Some of the negative reviews posted on TrustPilot include:
“I can’t support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers.”
“Black girls are empowered using this product… I guess whites girls aren’t. I’ll be letting Target know about this racist company.”
Now, we’ve seen boycotts over the years drive consumer losses and negative press and reviews effectively force brands to either change their ways or present the appearance of change. A great example is the #DeleteUber campaign which initially evolved from stories of misogyny and gender discrimination within the company. When hundred of thousands of consumers shared the #DeleteUber hashtag, Lyft saw a 30% increase in riders and Uber riders dropped by more than 10%, which ignited the ousting of Uber’s Founder.
In the case of Honey Pot, however, the racist agenda backfired as their comments and nasty reviews inspired even greater support for the brand. In fact, Dixon just announced the plant-based feminine hygiene line has seen sales jump to 20%-30% since the backlash began. And, Dixon said as of today, her company’s sales were 50% higher than what they would be on a typical day.
In fact, it seems the boycott actually created greater brand awareness for Honey Pot as seen by these Tweets:
Meanwhile, Dixon isn’t taking the boycott personally. She told Buzzfeed,
“I can’t expect them to understand the plight of what it is to be a black woman co-founder in business. Black-owned businesses do not get a lot of support from the venture capital world. That’s why it was important for me to talk about the success of the Honey Pot Company in empowering black girls to start their businesses, so that black women entrepreneurs could refer to my company when they’re raising money or selling and running their companies.When things like this happen, things change.”
This is such a remarkable example of the power of the online boycott and online reviews driving sales, even if that wasn’t the original intent.
View the original Target ad here: