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Friday, 1st April 2016
In 2015, General Pants Co. partnered with White Ribbon – a charity that raises awareness about violence against women. White Ribbon works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising, education, and including programs with youth. General Pants felt that as the leading youth retailer we could play a large part in helping White Ribbon get their message out there to an audience that is generally hard to tap into. General Pants has over 52 stores, an online business and a large social following across multiple channels, reaching over 500,000 people daily. We employ a 1800 strong work force that used together can draw significant awareness to the campaign/organisation. General Pants employ over 70% women, including 5 out of 8 executive board members, this cause is important to us and we felt we could make a difference.
As part of the partnership General Pants created T-shirts with a positive General Pants/White Ribbon message ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ relevant for our target audience. Our workforce embraced the campaign through wearing the T-shirts, selling ribbons, pins and wristbands in all our stores across the country and raised over $25,000 for the cause in less than a three week period. We leveraged our owned channels to get the message to our entire customer base every week. In addition to the dollars that were raised, all our team members were given information about the White Ribbon cause which was organically shared with customers and through their personal social networks.
Unfortunately at present, General Pants’ ‘Fit In - Whoever, However, Where Ever’ campaign has received negative feedback. The lead image of our ‘Fit In’ window display was one of over 150 shots for the campaign. It was chosen as it represented the denim in the best possible light and in retrospect; more consideration should have been made in regards to how the outfits would translate from the waist up. However, we still stand by the original sentiment of the campaign, which is inclusivity – we have the jeans for you no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do.
As a result of the above it has come to light that our charity partner White Ribbon has been receiving a barrage of unconstructive and negative public feedback. The partnership and the great work that White Ribbon and General Pants set out to achieve seems to be bundled up in an issue that is related to a singular campaign image and we ask that those campaigning in this vein direct their energy into the great work that White Ribbon do and use their voice to show support. The team behind this charity work hard and tirelessly and General Pants will continue to support them.
We believe the complaints and feedback about our recent campaign should be directed to General Pants and respectfully our charitable partners should not be brought into the argument as this is completely unacceptable and undermines what White Ribbon stand for. Together we are working to be the change.