GapKids introduced their latest campaign for the Ellen DeGeneres kids clothing line on Friday April 1st. Since the release, the advertisement has come under harsh criticism via social media because some believe the photo has a racial undertone.
The photo features four young girls standing in a row. The girls in the middle ignite controversy because of how they’re posed. The white model is positioned with her elbow on the black models head. The caption reads, “Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.” Social Media was not impressed with the new campaign and sounded off:
The mega retailer has a history of inclusion when it comes to their advertising strategies. They’ve embraced diversity by using people of color, different religions, disabilities and sexual orientations in their campaigns. Some argue the idea that The Gap’s history of promoting the protected classes should be an indication that the advertisement is not racially motivated. In fact, Gap supporters refute racial claims by presenting a similar ad from a campaign a few years back. In that ad, a black girl poses with her elbow on a white girl’s head.
The Gap has since removed the ad from their website and issued an apology.
“As a brand with a proud 46 year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended,” said Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix in a statement to Fortune.
The climate of our society is very sensitive when it comes to race. The perception of this ad will be different for everyone who sees it. The question is, if we know The Gap to be a supportive and inclusive brand, are people being to sensitive or can we chalk this up to poor judgment on the brands part? What do you think?
XOXO – Marsha B.