Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 3,000 hate incidents towards The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have been recorded. In response, many brands and nonprofits are offering support and allyship as the unfortunate situation becomes more widely known.
Eric Toda, the global head of social marketing at Facebook, has called on all brands to challenge the myths about the Asian community and fight back against systemic racism in the advertising industry and around the country. “Advertisers should put more money into campaigns that condemn racism targeted toward all marginalized groups, including Asian Americans, and improve representation of Asian American and Pacific Islanders by including them in more roles in front of and behind the camera. An advertiser’s goal, he points out, is to shape consumer perception with a few seconds of airtime,” said Toda.
Social Media Used To Host Events With AAPI Activists And Celebrities
Social media platforms have increasingly become valuable resources for reaching younger audiences interested in social issues, as shown through the following examples.
- Recently, Toda hosted two Instagram Live conversations with “Nobel Peace Prize nominee and political activist Amanda Nguyễn and Benny Luo, the founder of NextShark, a news site dedicated to Asian American issues,” reported Melody Hahm in Yahoo! Money.
- AdAge hosted a similar forum, with AAPI leaders in the advertising and marketing industry, on YouTube.
- New kid on the block Clubhouse hosted a fundraiser with the LA Food Gang, featuring many of the Asian celebrities who have been advocating for AAPI visibility and awareness during the recent racist incidents.
GoFundMe Collaboration Amplifies AAPI Fundraisers
Gold House, a “premier nonprofit collective of Asian founders, creative voices, and leaders dedicated to unifying the world's largest populace – Asians and Pacific Islanders – to enable more authentic multicultural representation and societal equity,” according to its website, just launched a collaboration with GoFundMe. The collaboration serves to highlight verified fundraisers and raise money for the AAPI Community Fund, with donations distributed to a vetted group of community, neighborhood and victim organizations. The goal of the two organizations is to address the immediate need and the larger, systemic problems of AAPI racism.
Brands Offer Support And Pledge Money To AAPI Charities With #StopAsianHate Hashtag
Many brands, including Nike and Peloton, pledged their support to the AAPI community. Using the #StopAsianHate hashtag, Nike posted a video on Instagram, stating, “To our Asian community, we respect you, we are with you. Nike condemns racism. Until We All Win.” Additionally, the sportswear brand pledged “$500,000 to 20 nonprofits that support Asian American, Middle East, and Pacific Islander communities.” Peloton announced on Facebook that it has made a $100,000 donation to the Asian American Federation, “an organization that furthers justice, wellness and opportunity for Asian communities.”
Hennessy Supports AAPI & BIPOC Businesses With ‘Unfinished Business’ Initiative
In June of last year, Hennessey launched “Unfinished Business” and pledged $3 million in support of Black, Asian and LatinX businesses. The spirits brand explained “Black, Asian and Latinx business owners have always had to overcome great obstacles to success. And in the era of COVID-19, these individuals are fighting harder than ever against a range of inequalities that stand in their way. Hennessy has launched Unfinished Business, a new program that provides urgent funding and access to vital resources for the small business owners who bind our communities together.” Although not directly related to recent racial attacks, by being inclusive and supportive of the Asian community, Unfinished Business offers allyship and a lifeline when many Asian-owned businesses are dealing with a myriad of issues. Hennessey promoted Unfinished Business with a digital video campaign and a dedicated webpage on the Hennessey site.
Understanding The AAPI Consumer Market & Prioritizing Inclusivity
The Asian community is becoming more vocal and more economically powerful, and brands need to pay attention. “Asian Americans hold pretty sizable purse strings so companies can’t afford to overlook this key demographic,” said Ruth Umoh, formerly a diversity and inclusion reporter at Forbes. “Given their rapid growth rate, which outpaces all other ethnic groups, Asian American consumers now wield an outsize influence on the U.S. business community, and companies are seeing an increased demand for authentic brand representation.”
Brands, businesses and retailers that want to make a lasting difference and drive engagement need to be strategic and thoughtful, creating real change that resonates with consumers. Supporting the AAPI community through inclusion and support is a great way to lead by example in the advertising industry and beyond.
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