“Because we’ve always done it that way” is no longer a reason to continue do things, including in marketing, recognizable brands are evolving with the times regarding racial stereotyping, profiles. and potential insensitivity.
In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, activists and consumers have demanded that companies take a stand against racial injustice.
Mars Incorporated, which has the Uncle Ben’s brand of rice among its trademarks, says it will hear and listen in response to concerns about that brand being considered a racial profile.
A spokeswoman for Mars, said “now is the right time to evolve the brand, including its visual identity,” when hearing the voices of consumers, especially in the black community.
The company said there’s no timetable for new branding or packaging.
The Uncle Ben’s brand dates back to 1946. According to Mars, “Uncle Ben was an African-American rice grower known for the quality of his rice.” But the term “uncle” has come under fire in the African-American community.
That news followed word Wednesday that Quaker Oats announced it is retiring the 131-year-old Aunt Jemima brand, saying the company recognizes the character’s origins are “based on a racial stereotype.”
PepsiCo, which owns Quaker, said overhauled pancake mix and syrup with a new name and branding will hit store shelves before the end of 2020.
And earlier this year, Land O’Lakes announced it would no longer use the Native American woman as the branding logo on its packages of butter, cheese and dairy products. She has graced the packaging since the late 1920s.