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Monday

19

January 2015

Brands Reflect On (Some Of) MLK's Legacy

by Conrad Updog

For America’s social media managers, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day presents an unfortunate dilemma.

On the one hand, MLK Jr. Day is a holiday created to honor a man who called for the restructuring of the entire capitalist society whose inhumanity #brands exist to conceal.

On the other hand, it is basically impossible for a social media manager to resist the opportunity to photoshop a quote onto a non-descript background and call it content.

While some brands seem to have recognized the absurdity of trying to generate revenue for their mostly white shareholders from the very real struggle faced by black people in this country, others boldly added to the conversation.

Here is what they had to say for themselves. Or rather, here are the selectively inoffensive MLK Jr. quotes they chose to put their names beside:

Bank of America chose a thoughtful quote set aside a photo of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington.

Recently, BoA has honored Dr. King’s commitment to truth and service by facing lawsuits for offering predatory loans to black homeowners and allowing foreclosed properties to deteriorate in minority neighborhoods.

Alas, there probably wasn’t enough room on the photo for, “We are fully cooperating with HUD and await the outcome of their investigation.”

Starbucks realized that the letters “MLK” are in reverse alphabetical order. Good job, Starbucks!

Loews Hotels encouraged D.C. visitors to make a trip to the MLK memorial. Pretty lazy Photoshop job, if you ask me.

White Castle remembers that time Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I HAVE A DREAM.”

Surprising that so many brands are shying away from winners like, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Macy’s paid a $650,000 fine last year for disproportionately following blacks and Hispanics around its store because it assumed they were there to shoplift.

Here, the company thanks Dr. King for his spirit with a quote from his wife.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day must have snuck up on Honey Maid. It tweeted out a viral video it made last year supporting gay marriage.

Meanwhile, Orville Redenbacher kept its priorities firmly in order.

Congratulations to all the brands out there on reminding consumers that the people who run their social media accounts are aware that today is a national holiday. We are all better for it.

Conrad Updog

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