Lloyds Bank rocked by racism row in ‘M-word’ cock-up

lloyds 2Lloyds Bank’s latest ad campaign, in which it attempts to show its caring, sharing and diverse side, has backfired spectacularly following accusations of “unbelievable” racism over a leaflet which supports the activity.
The TV spot, devised by Adam & Eve/DDB, launched in March and features various families talking awkwardly about an unnamed subject, with phrases such as “we haven’t talked about it openly” and “we prefer to keep it private”. It ends on the line: “The M-word from Lloyds Bank. It’s good to talk about money.” So far, so good.
However, one leaflet which supports the activity has sparked uproar by featuring a black man who stars in the ad along with the text “Why do we find it so hard to say the M-word”. It has triggered accusations that it is a clumsy and offensive play on the use of the “N word”.
Stand Against Racism & Inequality strategic director Alex Raikes first saw the leaflet at her local branch in Westbury-on-Trym. She said: “It’s distasteful. I think it’s simply racist. Having a black guy in the background saying why don’t we talk about the M word is an obvious play on words.
lloyds 6“I cannot understand how diversity advisors and marketing people at Lloyds would have let this through. How can this be acceptable? I understand it’s part of a national campaign and they are working with different groups. But it’s baffling.”
Raikes posted the leaflet on Facebook and has now made a formal complaint to the bank. One of her Facebook friends, who has also complained directly to the bank, said: “I have reflected on this and find it difficult to understand how a marketing department and ultimately the board signed this off. Just goes to show that institutional racism is alive and kicking in the private sector.”
Another added: “It’s just so obviously wrong. Like when did we travel back in time to 1972? I am so sick of this country.” A fourth posted: “OMG. What ‘s the matter with Lloyds. I feel like closing my account with them! Unbelievable.”
The chief executive of St Paul’s Carnival, LaToya McAllister-Jones, told the Bristol Post: “Things like this happen quite regularly now and I’m sure some of these organisations reckon the furore will be good for them.”
However, she did concede she “had to think hard about what the issue was, but often people will perceive something as racist and won’t necessarily always agree”.
In a statement, Lloyds Bank said: “Lloyds Bank launched the M-word campaign earlier this year to destigmatise talking about money; which many people can find difficult. The slogan for the campaign appears on a wide range of marketing images, with the people featured reflecting the diversity of the UK.
“We never want to offend or upset anybody so we sincerely apologise if that has happened and take all feedback received seriously.”

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