‘No more black spots’ is music to the white supremacist

A message I sent to the former Vodafone New Zealand:

Everything is OK except the messages you’re promoting!

I know you’ve already heard the feedback that you share your name with a white supremacist organization, and you shrugged it off. OK, maybe we can put this down to a marketing company that didn’t do its research and management just swallowed what it was told. An unfortunate coincidence and One can learn from it … or not.

But now we see a company sharing its name with a white supremacist organization telling us through emails and TV ads they have teamed up with a company run by an apartheid-supporting fascist sympathizer, and your promos tell us that you did so to ‘eliminate black spots’.

You’ve scored a hat-trick there and surely you can’t claim this was all a big coincidence.

I’ve looked into your ownership structure and I know you have directors who are people of colour who would no way condone this.

Please tell me what’s the deal with all this weird messaging. Did management seriously miss how bad this looks? Again?

Their response:

Thanks for taking the time to email us. We apologies for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Feel free to check our websites https://one.nz/ for all the answers on your query

I couldn’t find anything on ‘How our people are tone deaf about racism and why we choose to ignore complaints about it’ on their ‘websites’. (I count one in the response but maybe there are others? Where are Infratil 2019 Ltd., BIF IV ICN Holdings Pte. Ltd., or Leopardi Corporate Trustees Ltd.?)

However, I can find their directors listed on the Companies’ Office register. I might have to ask them if they can show me where it is on their websites.

One mea culpa: the exact copy is ‘No more black spots’.

I know, you could argue that that’s not what they meant and that I’ve joined the woke brigade, but those in charge of corporate communications should realize the 20th-century ways of handling this are no longer valid. It tells me there’s a big spot in front of them that they can’t see past, and they learned nothing from the kerfuffle of a poor name choice. I was fascinated and surprised to see how badly they handled this.

‘Let’s double down’ isn’t a smart corporate response.

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