Every now and then, I offer praise and somewhat gentle but biting scorn to individuals and institutions that are deserving of their respective honors. Let’s take a look at some of the latest Winners and Losers. This month, I have just one winner to profile for a good reason.
Honey Maid – Whenever major brands and companies inject a message of inclusion and equality into their marketing efforts, there are always the vocal, often hateful detractors who threaten to boycott what they are selling for taking a stance on a human rights issue that some still object to. Cheerios saw that in response to its ads featuring a biracial little girl. Oreo posted a mockup picture of a rainbow cream cookie to express its support for same-sex marriage. The list goes on and on.
What’s even better is when such brands choose not to retreat and decide to mess with their detractors by doubling down its efforts to be more inclusive in its marketing campaigns. Here’s one from Honey Maid.
Sure, some people may still object to homosexuality and even interracial relationships. Society continually changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Same-sex marriage is no better or worse than heterosexual marriage. Same-sex parents are no better or worse than heterosexual parents. Children will not necessarily turn out gay just because their parents are gay and even in that case, who cares? No one person is less of a human than another.
Brands like Honey Maid see not only a profit potential but also an opportunity to garner and command respect as a major brand for being inclusive and promoting equality in its messaging. It couldn’t care less what detractors think. So what if they lose some customers as a result? As I’ve alluded to in a post about Chick-fil-A in July 2012, most boycotts fizzle out not long after they begin. Honey Maid will be fine and so will others that embrace equality.
1. City of Oakland – You had one job!
Last week, ABC7 News San Francisco reported on an intersection in Oakland where the STOP sign on the pavement was misspelled. Come on! It’s only four big letters to paint on a pavement. How hard can that be? Not before long, this seemingly small mishap could become a big problem. This has got to sotp — I mean, stop.
Fortunately, someone later took a clever yet temporary approach to fixing this error. Ah, the joy of AP Style.
2. Teenage “Terrorist” on Twitter – You’d have to be a complete moron to think that tweeting a terrorist threat to an air carrier’s Twitter account is somehow funny. Well, that’s exactly what one Dutch teenager did over the weekend.
The screenshot of the tweet below shows that this user claimed to be from Afghanistan and a member of Al Qaeda — notice how she misspelled the name — who plans to “do something big” June 1st. American Airlines immediately responded to her tweet, informing her that she will be reported to the authorities for making a terrorist threat. Dutch police have since arrested and released the 14-year-old Rotterdam girl although the investigation is still ongoing.
It’s highly unlikely that she belongs to any terrorist group nor does she have any plans to “do something big,” as she claims. It does, however, remind us that Twitter users out there like her exist and they tend to exhibit such foolish behavior that sometimes have serious consequences.
There are posts from BuzzFeed and others out there that have compiled a collection of tweets from teenagers and young adults, expressing their admiration for figures like Justin Bieber and One Direction while demonstrating how ignorant they are to more pertinent matters that truly impact the lives of people everywhere. This is not a knock on all teenagers and young adults as there are those that don’t fall under this stereotype and I commend them for keeping it together.
My advice to parents, while you still have the ability to yield any influence on your teenage children: Don’t let your children use Twitter if they cannot tell what’s right from wrong when it comes to what should be shared in a public space. We don’t need more idiots like her tweeting out terrorist threats for the fun of it. The Boy Who Cried Wolf scenario also comes to mind in instances like this.