This may become an actual blog post but for today, it’s going to first be published in my newsletter.
Cultural appropriation in food businesses and media is not a new topic. There have been many a discussion surrounding who gets to sell what kind of food and confusion on what’s appropriation and what’s not. I’m not going to get into the details here.
What I want to touch on is the responsibility we (as marketers) hold to the words and imagery we use in relation to our products and services. Communication – both written and visual – is such an important part of marketing.
The photos and words that you choose to accompany your brand, your drinks, and your products are under your control.
Some things to consider as you post:
- Is the photo of a coffee production worker the best one to accompany text about a sale you’re running on their coffee? (Someone on my Twitter timeline pointed this one out)
- Is the geisha (the person) the best representation of your geisha coffee? NO. There isn’t an argument here.
- Are you picking and choosing culturally significant items to exoticize your product from that country without understanding why they’re significant (and therefore not using them in any appropriate manner)?
I’m ending this with a screenshot I took today while I was seeing if any coffee companies are using geisha imagery to sell their coffee. Oh look, it wasn’t that difficult to find.