Pepper Miller responded to Jim Edwards’ Pine-Sol counterpoint in professional and polite fashion. MultiCultClassics wanted to chip in an additional two cents.
First, both Miller and Edwards are respected at this blog. Yet it seems Edwards responded to what he considered an overreaction with a bigger overreaction. As an overlord of overreactions, MultiCultClassics feels overqualified to go over it.
As previously noted, Miller never called the Pine-Sol work racist. In fact, she opened by referencing consumer perceptions:
In earlier campaigns, many Black consumers perceived the Pine Sol Lady, portrayed by Diane Amos, a pretty, full-figured woman, as a “mammy-type servant.”
Miller was not spewing an angry, subjective beef. She was merely restating what observers have already noted for years via The New York Times and Adweek.
Edwards’ “revelation” regarding Miller’s alleged conflict of interest is silly. Miller has never hidden her employment background. It’s officially listed in the Blogger Bios. Most visitors to The Big Tent are completely aware of her credentials. The truth is, Miller rarely pans ads; rather, she is usually praising the work and clients she admires, or simply typing about contemporary cultural topics. It’s a safe bet that Miller isn’t forwarding sharp rants to fuel paranoia and ensure she doesn’t “go out of business.” Regular readers of Miller’s posts could possibly conclude she’d be absolutely delighted if the industry evolved to a state where her services might be deemed obsolete.
MultiCultClassics has repeatedly declared that no one can dictate whether or not people think something is racist. So when Edwards dismissed Miller (“Putting that aside, is she correct? No.”), he displayed arrogance and ignorance of the highest order. Sorry.
Particularly ridiculous was Edwards griping, “It is not the job of a detergent company to raise black America’s self-esteem.” Where did Miller hint at that? Granted, Miller might suggest a detergent company is hurting itself by potentially insulting Blacks, but she has yet to lecture any company on an obligation to lift the collective spirit of an entire racial group.
Edwards’ whining about restrictions to advertising is a contrived and tired argument. Plenty of brands have managed to portray minorities in positive ways, including Nike and Allstate (through its use of spokesman Dennis Haysbert). Being edgy and breakthrough does not require insensitivity and offensive imagery. Need proof? Check out the annual winners of nearly every reputable awards show.
Finally, Edwards’ interpretation of the Buick Enclave spot confirms his lack of credibility in this affair. While MultiCultClassics is hardly a fan of Black automotive advertising—and thinks the Buick spot is corny—Edwards appears oblivious to the commercial’s cues. For starters, how often does Madison Avenue present upscale Black men? If Omnicom had produced the spot, the dude would’ve eventually driven to his job as a mailroom attendant. BTW, Mr. Edwards, there is zero bling in the spot. The guy isn’t even wearing a diamond stud earring. And standard White guys have been known to own up to three watches too.
Anyway, this blog continues to respect Edwards and his opinions. However, his odd attack on Miller seemed a little weak and uncalled for. But maybe MultiCultClassics is overreacting.