Hidden agendas and leave-in conditioners

So, social media has been buzzing about this Shea Moisture commercial. I’m sure you’ve seen it, if not here it is: Shea Moisture Ad

I belong to so many business and networking groups, that this discussion has completely covered my timeline for the last few days. There are obviously two main opinions. “Shea Moisture completely let us (women of color) down” and “Shea Moisture is just a business trying to expand their line and we shouldn’t be mad about that.”

Here is why anyone who thinks the latter needs a reality check.

Granted, there is a sensitivity in media that may not always be warranted, but this is not the case. Shea Moisture’s popularity was increased by word of mouth and referrals from women of color. Their line, before the sale, catered to women of color. They even had a whole campaign about labeling hair care in the stores. You know, that little baby “ethnic hair care” section that most products that work for us is limited to? Here’s that ad. #Breakthewalls

So when they come up with an ad that is supposed to bring light to “hair hate” and how everybody should get love when it comes to their hair, you would expect Shea Moisture to include ALL types of hair in the visual.

Let’s be clear, there are some people who are upset that Shea Moisture is trying to expand their reach. There are others who may even think they shouldn’t appeal to another demographic at all. That is not my issue. My issue is representation in an ad that says “Everybody gets love.”  My issue is with the marketing department.

As a Mass Communication’s student, I was taught all about commercials. I was taught how hidden agendas are placed into visuals to convey a non-verbal message. I was taught that you must do research, see what your target audience will and won’t go for, and execute it. I only have a bachelor’s degree in this subject. Can you imagine someone with a master’s level degree and experience with major companies NOT being able to see how this ad was alienating their major supporters? Nah….because it didn’t happen.

That was intentional.


Now, Shea Moisture has responded to the social media drag by taking the ad off of their page and issuing a statement. But as most would say, the damage is done. I don’t necessarily feel the brand took a hit so bad they can’t recover from it, but they do have some damage control to do.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel the ad was in poor taste? Do you not care? Let’s talk!


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