This month saw the release of a report examining how brands that stand up for diversity can tackle online hate. Sophie Griffiths explores its key findings, and how travel firms can apply these learnings to their business.
Valentine’s Day 2016, and a sports brand was in the headlines for all the right reasons. Adidas had featured an Instagram post with a celebratory image depicting the legs and trainers of two women, one of whom was on tiptoes as she leaned towards the other for a kiss (right). Alongside it was the caption: “The love you take is equal to the love you make”.
The reason the story was in the national press wasn’t because of the advert. It wasn’t even due to the number of online trolls who took exception to the image of the two lesbians and responded with a series of homophobic slurs along with threats to ditch the sports company for rival brands. It wasn’t the hate that hit the headlines, but Adidas’ response to it.
To someone who posted: “Shame on you Adidas!! I’m going to Nike now,” Adidas replied with a wave emoji and kiss lips. And to another who stated: “WTF Adidas? This day is for boy and girl when they are couple [sic], not for lesbians,” the sports brand countered: “No, this day is for LOVE. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
In a few simple words (and emojis) Adidas had shut down its trolls, won significant support from the LGBT community (and allies) – and garnered money-can’t-buy PR.
I was reminded of this story last week at the launch of a new report entitled Braving the Backlash, which explores how brands that stand up for diversity can tackle online bigotry.