In the aftermath of the riots that took place in London and other parts of England, there was bound to be a reaction, and one of great measures. Here is a great article on PRWeek highlighting some brands that effect our culture reactions, with Levi’s taking full advantage and using imagery from the riots to launch a new line.
Brands including Levi’s and Nike denied suggestions that they were paying the price of flirting with images of youthful rebellion, but several youth brands are attempting to reconnect their offerings with sportspeople and even with the people who cleaned up after the protests.
In a Daily Mail column on Monday, Janet Street-Porter wrote that ‘even mainstream brands such as Levi’s promote the notion of confrontation as hip’.
Writing for PRWeek, Instinct PR founder Jonathan Kirkby has argued that brands must now become ‘more sensitive’ with their PR and marketing, warning against using imagery and ideas that could be interpreted as ‘encouraging a rebellious attitude’.
Levi’s pulled cinema and Facebook adverts last week for its Go Forth range, which featured a young man squaring up to riot police while a voiceover said ‘you’re marvellous’.
Although Levi’s declined to discuss how it was moving its brand on following the riots, a statement given to PRWeek claimed that the advert was ‘in the spirit of positive action and optimism’.
It added: ‘We believe this spirit was encapsulated by the groups that came together in Clapham, Hackney and elsewhere to rebuild their communities.’
A Nike spokesman denied that the brand had flirted with dangerous imagery, although earlier this year it replaced a line of shirts that read ‘Dope’, ‘Get High’ and ‘Ride Pipe’ following complaints that they promoted drug use.
Hinting that Nike was likely to refocus its comms and marketing strategy to emphasise its relationship with elite sportspeople, the spokesman insisted ‘sports values have always inspired our campaigns and brand statements’.
London 2012 Olympics tier one sponsor Adidas has used controversial rappers Snoop Dogg and Big Sean to promote the brand. Adidas head of PR Sarah Gower declined to comment, but a previous statement said the riots ‘go against everything we stand for’.
PRWeek also contacted JD Sports group marketing director Stephen White for comment, but he failed to respond.
Foot Locker declined to comment as ‘a matter of corporate policy’.