Good Afternoon, Jim-

Our client Perry Gellis
MMH(1 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.

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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).

the U.S., 94MMH(2 
percent of consumers would be more loyal to brands that practice transparency
(Label Insight ROI Study, 2016).

the U.S., 56MMH(3 
percent of 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.

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


Consumers are skeptical of brands.

In the U.S., 42MMH(4  percent of people do not trust brands (McCann, 2017).

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

the U.S., 51 percent of people do not 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 U.S. share negative information about
companies and issues they care about (2015 Cone Communications CSR Study, 2015).

54 percent of the U.S.

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

percent of people in the U.S. 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 low-emissions
(Lovelance & Wang, 2016).

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

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

§  Sales
dropped 20 percent 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 should MMH(5 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. You will need to help the client understand that a different
messaging strategy is best,
which may present a point of contention. MMH(6 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