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H&M Fall 2016 Campaign: challenging stereotypes or securing market share?

September 17, 2016

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The H&M Fall 2016 campaign launches with an empowering video.

The H&M Fall 2016 campaign has launched with an empowering message which challenges stereotypes. The minute-long video features a diverse group of women, including veteran actress Lauren Hutton, being who they are and doing what they want. It’s set to a soundtrack of Tom Jones’ 1971 hit, ‘She’s a Lady‘, covered by NYC soul band, Lion Babe. The band’s lead singer, Jillian Hervey, also makes an appearance.

AdWeek reported that the video is said to ‘subvert what you think a lady should look and act like’. It juxtaposes beautiful, strong women against a track which speaks of ‘style and grace’ and a women who ‘always knows her place’.

In doing so, H&M have created a strong feminist anthem which speaks to a wide global market. They’ve challenged traditional perceptions by featuring different hairstyles and body shapes, and taboo’ed the stigmas attached to gender-dressing and eating habits.

Awesome stuff!

Feminism is once against on the rise. Women are campaigning for equality in the workplace, running for president in male-dominated countries and standing up against rape and abuse. This campaign is perfectly timed.

But why now? Why has H&M chosen to represent a such a diverse market now?

Cast your mind back to November 2015 when an H&M shopper in their newly-opened Cape Town store accused the brand of racism.

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H&m’s reply sent her tweet viral with comments like this.

The ensuing furore on Twitter resulted in a formal apology from H&M.

Now, take a look at the new H&M Fall 2016 ad again. Do you only see strong, independent women doing what they want? Or do you also see a whole lotta ethnic diversity?

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Did one tweet from Cape Town force the hand of a global brand to re-evaluate their target market and overhaul their campaign strategies?

We may never know the truth behind H&M’s timing to reinvent themselves now but I believe that Tlalane Letlhaku should be commended for taking a public stand against what she saw as unjust. I’m inspired.

Take a bow, Tlalane and H&M. Well played.
love & light
CDx

Quick quiz: What do you think of the new ad from H&M? Is this campaign a form of window-dressing to secure market share? Or is the brand on the path to dispelling racism from their boardrooms, shop floors and everywhere in between?

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