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The Corporate Crisis Management Of Colour Blind Advertising - A Case Study of Dolce & Gabbana’s and H&M’s Racially Charged Campaigns

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posted on 2021-05-23, 09:20 authored by Jessica Goldentuler
The purpose of this Masters Research Paper is to analyze the methods of crisis communication utilized by H&M and Dolce & Gabbana in response to their racially charged ads launched in January 2018 and November 2018 respectively. After thorough research, it is clear that many retail groups have suffered irreparable damage to their images from a crisis (Liu et al., 2011). Image Restoration Theory (IRT) and the Social-mediated Crisis Communication model will act as a lens through which the companies’ techniques will be examined. The Literature Review aiding the research gathered in this paper will provide insight into the growth of the advertising industry, examples of modern corporate crises, and a recap of each corporation’s controversial pasts. The review will also cover theories of crisis communication and social media’s role in crisis communication. After manually collecting data from Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, it is clear that the Italian fashion house misused denial in combination with William Benoit’s other strategies within IRT. The public swiftly accused Dolce & Gabbana of lying and avoiding blame. After Dolce & Gabbana turned to mortification, their image had been damaged as many users labeled the apology as insincere. Similarly, the data collected on H&M reveals that the retail group attempted to evade responsibility. Later, H&M retracted their statement and released an apologized. The apology received a marginally warmer reception by Instagram users, where as many users on Twitter were demonstrably skeptical of its genuineness. When corrective action is employed the public recalls each company’s racist past. After thorough analysis, it is evident that in racially charged corporate crises it may be in the best interest of the company’s image to take full responsibility for the act and release a denial free apology.





Master of Professional Communication


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type