Good faces a dilemma: do they leverage an

Good Afternoon, Jim-

Our client, Perry Gellis
currently faces a dilemma: do they leverage an empowerment message to launch
their new men’s clothing line? The new launch aims to empower women in Rwanda
by giving them jobs that pay 300 percent of the average wage in the country.

Although this information is accurate, we have recently uncovered in a client
meeting that working conditions are poor and the average wage is barely enough
for the workers to live. This information is not commonly known by the public.

Therefore, please refer to the following message strategy recommendation. 

After conducting
extensive secondary research on the matter and understanding the type of brand
Perry Gillis wants to be, I recommend that they should not leverage an empowerment message to launch the new line.

Support for this
recommendation is found in the research below.

Consumers want fully transparent and ethical brands.


Consumers want companies to be open and honest about their
efforts (Landrum, 2017).

percent of consumers would be more loyal to brands that practice transparency
(Label Insight ROI Study, 2016).

percent on consumers claim that brand transparency would make them “loyal for
life” (Label Insight ROI Study, 2016).

to the Guardian Sustainable Business, consumers want relevant, truthful and
easily understandable information.

shoppers to spend money wisely, both for themselves and for society.


Consumers are skeptical of brands.

42 percent of the US population do not trust brands (McCann,

52 percent of the US population agree that marketing
products with an ethical stance is a way to manipulate consumers (The Ethical
Consumer, 2015).

percent of people in the US don’t believe companies with social commitments are
striving to be as responsible as possible, until they have proof about their
efforts (2015 Cone Communications CSR Study, 2015).


talk about unethical brands.

social media, 21 percent of people in the US share negative information about
companies and issues they care about (2015 Cone Communications CSR Study, 2015).

54 percent of the US
population do not pay attention to a company’s social efforts until something
goes wrong (2015 Cone Communications CSR Study, 2015).

of people in the US will tell people when they believe a company is especially unethical
(The Ethical Consumer, 2015).


Companies who have overstated their brand promise have
experienced negative consequences.

Large companies
throughout many industries have been exposed for false or exaggerated claims,
leading to loss of consumers and sales.

Car manufacturer Volkswagen
promoted and marketed its newly designed diesel vehicles as a low-emissions
(Lovelance & Wang, 2016).

o   In
2015, Environmental Protection Agency exposed Volkswagen for cheating emission

§  Recall
of 83,000 vehicles  (Lovelance &
Wang, 2016).

§  Sales
dropped 20% from the previous year (Kollewe, 2016).

Clothing company,
Lululemon, claimed its VitaSea fabric made with seaweed would releases marine
minerals into the skin (Story, 2007).

o   In
2007, The New York Times tests concluded there was no significant difference in
mineral levels between the VitaSea fabric and cotton T-shirts.

§  Stock
fell from $60 to $42 after the tests went public in 2007.

The Rainforest Alliance
Certified seal
is awarded to farms, forests, and businesses that meet rigorous environmental
and social standards, such as quality working conditions for farmers.

(Rainforest Alliance, 2018).

o   In
2015, a BBC investigation
exposed that workers on Rainforest Alliance-approved tea estates lived in poor
housing conditions and received below average wages (Rowlatt & Deith,

§  Water
and Sanitation Health filed a lawsuit against Rainforest Alliance for not
living up to their certification claims (Water and Sanitation Health, Inc,


At this point in time,
Perry Gellis should not leverage an empowerment message. With corporate social
responsibility being at the forefront of many industries, the clothing giant is
best to leverage a strategy it can fully support. Companies who made this
mistake have suffered and have had to dedicate time and money to rebuild sales
and consumer trust.

A collective effort
will need to be made by you and the account planner to relay this information
to the client. Helping the client understand their social efforts are not the
best message strategy, may present a point of contention. You must make it
clear to the client that though their social initiatives are strong, research confirms they
are not strong enough to leverage as a brand launch.

Perry Gellis is a clothing
giant with strong values. Therefore, its ad and PR campaign should reflect
this. As an agency, we need to look past the empowerment message strategy and
onto a more calculated plan that will allow for a successful campaign for our