Black creatives call for boycott of Nikon over lack of diversity in new campaign
Nikon SA's latest “tone-deaf” and “whitewashed” influencer campaign has prompted a boycott from some black creatives.
The camera brand's latest campaign, which was meant to build hype around its latest camera offering, the Z50, featured influencers who will be using the camera.
However, almost all of the influencers were white, except for Austin Malema.
We are excited to introduce our new Nikon Z50 influencers in South Africa. Over the next few months, we will be sharing their adventures and the moments they capture on their Nikon Z50’s. Watch this space...#NikonSA #NikonZ #Zcreators #Z50 #NikonZcreators #Zdifferently pic.twitter.com/WdGabiorYB— Nikon South Africa (@Nikon_SA) July 24, 2020
The campaign immediately prompted rage from South Africans who pointed out the obvious exclusion and lack of representation.
Instead of removing the campaign, Nikon issued an apology, saying it will be “updating the programme to introduce additional creators”.
“We celebrate the power of creativity through imaging, embracing diverse ideas and differences among people and cultures. We recognise that our recent influencer programme launched in SA fell short of portraying these values that we commit ourselves to embody and project as a brand,” said the camera company.
“To ensure we are better reflecting the incredible range of talent in SA, we are re-strategising our initiatives and will be updating the programme to introduce additional creators. We are committed to promoting the power of photography and videography as a tool across all societies and communities.”
In the wake of the campaign, black creatives and agency groups, including Avatar Agency Group and DNA Brand Architects, said they “will ban all Nikon products on set”.
Thousands of comments poured in on Nikon's timeline, as many users pointed out to the company where they had gone wrong.
Here is a snapshot of what people had to say.
We keep teaching brands about diversity & inclusion. Falling on deaf ears becasue there is no ACTION that affects them financially. Well here is ACTION, our agency group will ban all Nikon products on set & call on other agencies to do the same until they fix this. #NoNikonOnSet https://t.co/SGrxxaimgp— Velokuhle Ngubane (@TheNduna) August 4, 2020
We also need Nikon to give us a plan on how they plan to empower black photographers, we have no intention of keeping this ban, Nikon just has to do the right thing.— Velokuhle Ngubane (@TheNduna) August 4, 2020
This "apology" is not it it. We need a plan of action, that is inclusive & reflects the diversity of our country. https://t.co/G81fXKsK9s