At least two prominent brands have expressed their support for Lisa LaFlamme in the days following her dismissal from CTV National News. But is it advocacy or just a matter of leveraging opportunity?
News outlets have purported that the cause for LaFlamme’s dismissal was age discrimination, particularly her decision to stop dyeing her hair when the pandemic started and to instead keep the grey. The two brands showing their support, Wendy’s and Dove, both latch on to this aspect of the dismissal — but in different ways.
Fast-food chain Wendy’s on Thursday changed the profile photo on its Canadian Twitter account to one showing its mascot with grey hair instead of the usual red pigtails. They posted the change with the caption “because a star is a star regardless of hair colour” and used LaFlamme’s name as a hashtag.
The update wasn’t as well-received as Wendy’s probably expected. Many were confused, considering Wendy’s has never been associated with the issue of ageism. One Twitter user called out that the brand missed the point, and said that the issue is “not about hair colour, it’s about ageism.”
Dove Canada, meanwhile, took a larger-scale approach with a campaign they called Keep the Grey. The campaign proclaims that “aging is beautiful” and that it should be something “women should be able to do it on their own terms, without any consequences,” and encouraged others to change their profile photos to grey-scale.
Unlike Wendy’s, Dove did not reference LaFlamme in any of the materials related to the campaign. They also donated $100,000 to Catalyst, a nonprofit that helps build inclusive workplaces for all women.
CP24, which belongs to Bell, the same parent company as CTV, is getting some flak for picking and tweeting an article from The Canadian Press about how marketers jumping on the LaFlamme dismissal should “beware of blowback.”
“No one’s perfect, right? Every brand has skeletons in the closet…and this does very much open them up to scrutiny… so you better make sure your house is in order, before you start throwing this out there,” said retail analyst Bruce Winder to CP.
According to the article, Winder felt that Wendy’s response to the issue was “probably a little shallow,” while Dove’s was “deeper and more serious.”
“But still, both brands look a little bit opportunistic, like they’re taking advantage of what’s hot this week and what’s topical this week, and it looks like they’re trying hard,” he said.
Information for this briefing was found via Twitter, CP24, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.