We believe that every business or brand, no matter how big or small, has an important role in society. We believe that businesses can be powerful agents of change. We have seen an overwhelming amount of business initiatives in support of Black Lives Matter, to a large extent consisting of commitment to better promote black talent, support of black businesses, and donations to civil rights groups. These are great and important initiatives. And we all know we can do more.
Many small, independent brands such as Simris rely on Facebook and Instagram to reach out to people. Unfortunately, Facebook (who also owns Instagram) has refused to intervene against the hate-mongering, promotion of violence, and disinformation that enables and solidifies racism and injustice in the first place. Facebook makes its money from paid advertising. As one of all the brands who pay for ads on these platforms, we felt that we were in essence funding hate with our outreach budget. This is why as of 2nd June, Simris stopped all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Our decision was quoted in major news publications such as The New York Times, The Telegraph, and the Washington Post, and also dedicated business media such as Triple Pundit, Sustainable Brands, Adweek and The Information. You can find the links to our original statement at the end of this post.
We trust that consumers understand the difference between brands with sincere integrity, honesty and respect, and brands who issue mere statements while their actions - and budgets - continue to support the unjust status quo. While we appreciate individual businesses to have different opinions on the role of Facebook in this particular case, what we ask for is genuine consideration and afterthought on where we spend our marketing budgets. Just as fashion brands need to prevent inhumane working conditions at their manufacturers, we hope that fair marketing spend will be reviewed with equal concern. Who we choose as our business partners are important strategic business decisions, and should be based on careful and sound evaluation over the whole value chain.
We know that many brands and business owners struggle at the moment. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and at the cusp of major societal change, and there are no quick fixes or easy answers to what is the right thing to do. But we hope our example can encourage and support other lifestyle brands to take further action in support of Black Lives Matter. As famous anthropologist Margaret Mead said, Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.
Simris stops paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram's platforms
Why taking action is sound business
While we were drafting this post, a group of major civil rights organizations launched a joint campaign, Stop Hate For Profit. The campaign urges businesses to stop advertising on Facebook's services in July. The North Face was the first major brand to join, soon followed by REI and Upwork.
P.S.S. Santigold, Unstoppable.