In a flurry of hasty attempts to catch the bandwagon, corporate America and celebrities alike have been scrambling to fix, change or denounce their own products and statements that might possibly be seen as “problematic” in the our new era of frothing, rabid censorship.
The results have been both pathetic and pathetically hilarious. Pop-country band Lady Antebellum hardly even waited to exhale their next breath before they announced they’d be changing their name to Lady A to be “sensitive” to the negative cultural connotations of the term. Unfortunately they were so hasty they didn’t have time to run a 2-second Google search to discover that their backup name was already being used by another musician…another BLACK musician. After failed negotiations they’re now suing her for trademark violations.
A&E rushed to judgment and pulled their most popular show of all time, Live PD, to appease police brutality protesters. They subsequently lost 50% of their viewership overnight.
The Washington Redskins are the most amusing example of corporate squishiness. They didn’t even try. They just changed their name to the Washington Football Team and said they’ll figure out something later.
With so many rudderless young people at home with nothing to do now, many of them are spending their time desperately searching for things to cancel. One teen recently attempted to cancel the popular grocery chain Trader Joe’s because of their multicultural marketing.
The carefully-crafted facade of your friendly neighborhood hipster grocery store belies a darker image; one that romanticizes imperialism, fetishizes native cultures, and casually misappropriates. https://t.co/rxR4nvflUU #TraderJoes
— Briones Bedell (@BrionesBedell) July 8, 2020
As Fox News reports, Trader Joe’s has a unique marketing model in which all their products bear their name. International products are often labeled with a Trader Joe’s name that reflects the culture of where the product is being sold. Trader Giotto, Trader Ming, Trader Jose´’s, etc. It should be noted that Trader Joe’s has not indicated any of their international customers are dissatisfied with the labeling at all, but the company responded in July saying they would begin the rebranding process for their international lines.
However, now it looks as though the grocery chain has backed off from their decision, instead saying they only plan to pull certain products that aren’t selling well while indicating there will be no labeling changes.
After saying earlier this month that it is replacing “any variations” on the name Trader Joe’s, the company said in an announcement on its website it will keep “products that resonate with our customers” on the shelves. For decades, the chain has used names like Trader Giotto’s, Trader José’s and Trader Ming’s on international foods.
“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing,” the company wrote.
The grocery chain affirmed that it is discontinuing some older names or product lines that weren’t selling well following a review that began a couple of years ago.
A Change.org petition organized by California high school senior Briones Bedell demanding changes to Trader Joe’s branding has garnered more than 4,800 signatures as of Wednesday, but the chain said it does “not make decisions based on petitions.”
The California teen’s petition has fewer than 5,000 signatures but the fact that one bored teenager with a computer could cause an entirely successful corporation to change their grossly successful marketing strategy is a sure sign that we’ve lost the center of what began as an important discussion about race and government and has now devolved into cherry-picked temper tantrums.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, Trader Joe’s actually changes. My money is on “nothing.” To my mind, this is just smoke and mirrors and they’ll get on with their business knowing the winds will change and the news cycle will move on and everyone will forget about them soon enough.
The bandwagon looks to be hurtling downhill fast and is on fire. It looks like Trader Joe’s has no intention of getting burned or run over in the ensuing chaos.