Shea Moisture #HairHate

It wasn’t my intention for this blog to center so much around the beauty community, but the Shea Moisture ad campaign to stop “hair hate” was so prominently featured on my Twitter feed that I can’t ignore it.

Shea Moisture is a natural beauty company that has a consumer base made of primarily women of color. Absolutely, this brand deserves to become more of a household nameā€“just not for the reasons that are bringing it to attention now.

Following an ad campaign that featured prominently white women talking about their struggles with their hair, many women of color took to Twitter to start a boycott of the brand that they felt had turn their backs on them.


Shea Moisture quickly realized their mistake- as if they had another choice- and pulled the ad, releasing an apology that included “We seriously f—ed up.”

This casual and honest apology, I feel, was a great move on their part. It gives them a sense of authenticity and makes them feel very grounded in who they are as a brand. A+ from me, though they now need to take steps to regain the trust of their audience.*






*What these steps may be, I’m not sure. But Shea Moisture needs to clearly and purposefully rededicate themselves to creating and marketing products for the very same women who helped launch them into the mainstream markets.


Sponsored Videos in the YouTube Beauty Community

I, like many other twenty-something females, am endlessly fascinated by the beauty community on YouTube. There is an entire generation of girls who earn a living simply by buying, reviewing, and putting on makeup. It’s the craziest thing.

What’s even crazier is the comment section of sponsored videos.

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 7.53.17 PM

Comment taken from “Easy Summer Makeup: Get Ready With Me!” by Amanda Steele

Obviously, the audience is aware that these “Gurus” partner with brands to create content or receive free product from brands in the hopes that they will post a positive review.

So then why are audiences so opposed to sponsored videos?

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 7.53.33 PM

Comment taken from “Easy Summer Makeup: Get Ready With Me!” by Amanda Steele

It appears to me that the most likely explanation is that the audiences of this type of YouTube content select which guru to watch based on a personal connection they feel with this person. Sponsored videos seem to shatter this illusion by reminding viewers that this relationship is a means of income for one of the parties involved.

From my own observations, it seems that very few viewers complain about videos in which beauty gurus film reviews using free product in comparison to the number of viewers that complain about outright sponsored videos.

From a brand perspective, it seems as though cultivating relationships with influencers via press releases and sample product (PR packages) is much more effective on the YouTube platform, rather than sponsored videos that come across as a forced, contractually obligated 20 minute ad.

Influencer Reputations in the Fitness Industry

One of my areas of interest, weight lifting, has lead me to a pretty interesting revelation: brands these days, especially in the fitness industry, have to invest in people. They trust fitness vloggers with the reputation of their company, and as such have to decide when a person is no longer what they desire to be affiliated with.

Specifically, I follow a woman named Nikki Blackketter (Nikki), 29, who started her career as a fitness vlogger as a bikini-competitor and has transitioned into a life-style vlogger and encourager of personal growth, both mental and physical.

She was, while dating her now-ex boyfriend Christian Guzman (CG), an ambassador for Ghost Nutrition. Ghost is a fairly new brand, and as such, has to work hard to protect its image and decide what the brand does and does not stand for.

Around this time last year, Nikki and CG, with 552k and 710k subscribers on YouTube, respectively, split up.

While this may not seem relevant to anything PR related, Ghost Nutrition then forcibly removed Nikki from their team, which followers of Nikki viewed as a seemingly petty action, that the brand was “siding” with one party during the breakup and thereby alienated her 552k followers.

So, this brings a few questions to mind:
1. Do brands that work/sponsor a select few in such a competitive industry have a right to take sides in the personal matters of their ambassadors such as a breakup?

2. Do brands in similar industries have a set procedure in how ambassadors do/do not conduct themselves online?

3. Should Ghost have made a statement offering an explanation for their dismissal of Nikki? – to this one, at the very least, I think yes. Given the personal nature of YouTube/the relationship between followers and vloggers, Ghost now has roughly 550 thousand people that feel that Ghost has mistreated someone they care greatly for.

United Airlines


Tweet courtesy of user @NickNicotera

While it may now qualify as old news, I am still fascinated at how horribly the United Airlines PR team steered their company.

In this day and age, where any person with the slightest inclination can create and videotape any incident and reaction to an incident that they please, one would assume that large corporations like United would become more adept at responding to leaked footage of their missteps.

Video footage taken by passengers had gone viral long before United posted a response, and I highly doubt that the well-paid employees of a massive airline didn’t have access to the internet.

How exactly did they think that it was going to go over calling a brutal mauling of a paying customer a “re-accommodation?”

From what I’ve learned so far, the best response in public relations is to own up to wrong-doings and apologize sincerely.


Hello! Welcome to this blog that is the blog that belongs to me! How neat-o!

I’m Mandy Desmarais, a 21 year-old student at the University of Oregon. If you head over to my About Me section, you’ll find a few paragraphs in which I attempted to describe my personality and interests in a concise way, to some success.

This blog is to be my very own corner of the internet in which I poke and prod at various public relations-related topics. This may range from PR crisis response and how different companies react to unforeseen disasters, to influencer utilization within the beauty industry. While there isn’t a definite theme as of yet, I’m hoping that somewhere along the way I’m able to find a more narrow and focused area of PR pursuit.

Thanks for coming along with me on this far-out journey!