Shea Moisture expands their product line

Why Boycott SheaMoisture?

Have you seen the new SheaMoisture commercial floating around the internet?

Please take a few minutes to watch it. 

Posted April 20, 2017


Head to the comment section and tell me what you think:

When you watched the cover video from Shea Moisture what were your initial thoughts?

The commercial has many natural sisters ready to boycott and stop supporting a company that cares about our interest as black women.  I’ve worn my hair natural for at least 17 years and I’ve used their shampoo for about 6 years. In fact, my locs love Shea Moisture’s all natural shampoo and in one of my Youtube videos, I mentioned that it’s been one of the products I’ve used the longest. Before you raise your picket signs please understand the magic behind marketing. one of my Youtube videos I mentioned that it’s been one of the products I’ve used the longest. Before you raise your picket signs please understand the magic behind marketing. 

The commercial above was not SheaMoisture’s only new commercial, there were several posted on their Facebook page, but the first definitely caused the company to receive a lot of negative attention.

Posted March 25, 2017

Audience Expansion

When black companies try to enter mainstream areas their products can be ignored and seen as only for minority groups. When I saw SheaMoisture’s commercial I immediately knew that there was more to the story. A black business whose primary customer base is brown women would not just alienate the very people who helped them prosper, would they? I took off my natural hat, and put on my business hat for a few minutes and asked myself, why would a 21-century black owned company need to create a commercial that appears white-washed? It’s simple, just like Dove and Pantene have different brands for different demographics Shea Moisture wants the same expansion. I get it.

Real Marketing Examples



I’m sure you’ve seen Pantene’s brown bottles, which are for people with tighter curls. While, their white bottles are for people with a looser curl pattern or straight hair. Unfortunately, the white bottles would strip my hair of it’s natural oils and make it brittle. Whereas, my friends with straight hair did not need the moisture because their hair automatically created the oils. Instead, they desired to add bounce by reducing the oil in their hair. Thus, it’s commonly known that different hair textures need different care, so the same products may not be best for all textures.

As I learned to embrace my natural curl pattern, I also learned that my hair needed moisture to grow and feel healthy. Ironically, before I switched to SheaMoisture, I used Pantene’s brown bottles of shampoo for my natural hair. Pantente’s shampoo slogan is “Truly Relaxed Intense Moisturizing Shampoo.” Their products goal is to add moisture back into the customer’s dry and weak relaxed or permed hair. However, just because Pantene came out with a product line with a clearly different audience doesn’t mean that Shea Moisture should have followed their branding example. 

Market Wisely

There are ways you can create different product lines without typecasting audiences. Is it admirable for companies to use different ads for different markets? For instance, have you ever watched car ads on OWN or BET or BOUNCE TV or even Telemundo. The ads are often geared towards the communities that primarily watch those television networks. I also remember seeing different ads that showcased in Ebony and Essence Magazines as a child for Cadillac and Lincoln cars. In fact, these care companies would show the same cars as the ads in Town and Country, but with different families. 

Interview With a Graphic Designer

I spoke with David Cavins, MBA, a graphic designer from Alien Muffin.

I told David, about SheaMoisture’s new commercial and he stated; unfortunately, what often works in marketing is to use separate ads to appeal to different audiences. Also, check out our podcast: Diversity in Graphic Design Ep 11 – I See Pixels Podcast.

Then I asked him: What could SheaMoisture have done differently to help their present costumers not feel alienated or unappreciated?

He stated the following:

“The company should have rebranded. SheaMoisture had the option to come out with an entirely new product line for customers with naturally straighter hair.  The new line would not have been a dis to their present customers.”

Sundial Brands CEO Richelieu Dennis

Sundial Brands CEO Richelieu Dennis

What now

Many bloggers are speaking out about the line, but I don’t think boycotting the company makes sense. Instead, I think the CEO of Shea Moisture, Richelieu Dennis, should have his marketing team brainstorm differently. I agree with David, that they should just rebrand the new product to show they have other products for other demographics, but distinctly create a new product line. Also, I am proud of SheaMoisture for believing that they can make excellent products for all people. Thus, by all means, Richelieu, expand your products to not just serve one community but all communities because your all natural hair care line has proven results!

Shea Moisture hears us and the video mentioned first is not the only commercial that shows SheaMoistures’ product line expansion.

They are breaking down walls #BREAKTHEWALLS!

Sundail brands owns more than just SheaMoisture

Learn more: 

Regardless of what you may hear on the internet, Richelieu still has creative control of the brand that was inspired by his grandmother. 

Update: SheaMoisture has pulled the video

Click on the picture to view their response on FB 

Share this Story

Facebook Comments

  • Joyce Brewer

    My initial thoughts are that this ad definitely didn’t target the coily, kinky devotees who’ve been using SM for years. Although I have their products, I’m not necessarily loyal.

    • I also initially felt left out, like my green dollars were no longer valuable. After side-eyeing the commercial and turning up by nose, I relaxed because I know this commercial was just another marketing fail. The team who made this commercial failed to make it inclusive, but I’m not going to boycott. Instead, I’m going to let them know how they could have done it better.

  • Jay Colby

    I’m happy you’re bring attention to this issue. This is an important topic that needs to be discussed. After many years of these companies leaving the black community out by disrespectful comments from CEO’s or offensive commercials that don’t represent us as a whole. I feel like this boycott is a great time to start to support more blacked owned business or if they aren’t any create our own.

    • Thanks Jay, I felt I needed to right this post because the CEO is black and SheaMoisture is an extension of the product line started by his grandmother. We don’t need to boycott him, we need to support him. This is only one ad of his many many many as that have beautiful brown skin women in them.

      • Ms.

        “We don’t need to boycott him, we need to support him”.

        You need to stop. You do not have black women’s best interests in mind. Those scholarship funds you say are for black will soon follow the inclusion of other races as well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    • Ms.

      Exactly. Turn your support towards other brands. Exactly. The CEO of SM defended the white women that sent out the ads on his Breakfast Club interview. Plus he only did interviews with Black Men, not any Black women. Think about it. Google it.


    I totally understand their marketing stratergy of inclusion, but not whilst willfully excluding the very demographic that built the brand.

    • It was ignorant, but I don’t think it warrants a boycott. We call attention to it and demand better from a brand that we trust. I think now it’s time for SheaMoisture to rebuild the trust of their brand in the communities that first made them popular. The can help fund scholarships and summer camps for youth in black neighborhoods. They need to be creative, but I believe they can bounce back if they so desire to.

  • LaQuisha Hall

    For business owners, what an important lesson to learn! You cannot completely eradicate those who purchase the products from your marketing! I hope that the company can bounce back with their desired target audience.

    • Ms.

      Their desired target audience is white women and possibly biracial, not black women. Obviously.

  • I think they made a mistake. They need new marketing people apparently. The damage is done now though, I’m just curious to know what their next move is going to be.

  • Pingback: Business Card Design Tips and More – Episode 18 – I See Pixels Podcast | Alien Muffin()

Check Also

10 Must Have Summer Camp Items

This post is sponsored by Summer is ...


The St. Jude