MAC’s Apology for Juarez Makeup Line: Effective and Authentic

by cv harquail on August 5, 2010

It’s not often that I get to follow up a post about an organization’s disappointing actions with a post celebrating that very organization’s next step. Given how easy it is to pay attention to and be outraged by the bad actions, it is all the more important to devote some energy to positive resolutions– so share this post!

Have you seen these headlines?

M·A·C to Donate its Global Profits from the M·A·C Rodarte Makeup Collection to Benefit Newly Created Women and Girls of Juarez Initiative

M·A·C and Rodarte apologize to the victims and their families in Juarez, the people of Mexico, the Mexican Government and concerned global citizens

MAC Cosmetics, the company that generated so much ill will with its thoughtless choice to name a cosmetics collection after the epicenter of femicide, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has made a full apology.

MAC’s ultimate response addresses all five of the key components of successful apology (as outlined by John Kador, and summarized here):

  • Recognize the offense
  • Take responsibility
  • Show remorse
  • Make restitution
  • Prevent repetition

MAC’s apology is effective because it contains all five of these components. But MAC’s apology goes even further:   MAC’s apology is authentic.

MAC’s Authentic Apology for the Ciudad Juarez Collection

MAC’s apology is authentic because MAC took went two steps beyond what’s “effective”:

1. MAC linked their apology to their collective identity and purpose, and

2. MAC designed into their organization an ongoing process of attention to and restitution for their offense.

Look at this excerpt from MAC’s apology:

“We are deeply sorry and apologize to everyone we offended, especially the victims, the women and girls of Juarez and their families. We have heard the response of concerned global citizens loud and clear and are doing our very best to right our wrong. The essence of M·A·C is to give back and care for the community and our initial handling of this makeup collection was not reflective of M·A·C’s values. M·A·C and Rodarte are committed to using these learnings to raise awareness on this important issue and to leverage our unique platform to help the women and girls of Juarez,” said M·A·C President John Demsey.

MAC’s Authentic Apology is linked to the organization’s identity

MAC’s official statement uses phrases like these to show a link to “who they are” as a company:

  • The essence of MAC is to give back and care for the community
  • Our initial handling … was not reflective of MAC’s values
  • (We are) Committed to leverage our unique platform

Statements like these demonstrate that MAC understands that their offensive action was not only offensive in general, but also was offensive because it contradicted who MAC claims and wants to be as an organization.

MAC’s statements show that MAC is also apologizing for being inauthentic, and for damaging their stakeholders’ trust in them as an organization.

MAC’s Authentic Apology is built into the organization itself.

MAC has designed into its organization an ongoing process of awareness of and restitution for their offense.

201008091539.jpgMany blog posts and tweets about MAC’s Juarez Apology focus on just one component of MAC’s apology– their decision to donate all of the profits from the collection to initiatives to reduce violence against women in Ciudad Juarez. This is an important decision, but not as important as the way that MAC is implementing this decision.

MAC is building their restitution into MAC’s existing systems, relationships, and capabilities.

MAC is going to use the same process, the same stakeholder connections and the same expertise that they use to deliver their support for their well-regarded HIV/AIDS initiatives to deliver ongoing support to The Women and Girls of Juarez Initiative.

As the Facebook statement explains:

M·A·C has a longstanding tradition of service in Mexico, supporting important social causes in the country such as HIV prevention and treatment. Since 2002, the M·A·C AIDS Fund has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local entities, including Fundación Eudes, La Casa de la Sal, A.C., Ser Humano, A.C., Mesón de la Misericordia Divina A.C., Pirana Studio, and Fundación Unidos por un México Vivo.

By building their support for the Women of Juarez into the organization itself, MAC accomplishes two things:

1. MAC makes sure that as an organization, it has a process for staying aware of issues related to violence against women, and

2. MAC makes their support ongoing (rather than just a one shot deal).

These actions demonstrate that MAC actually does care, and has made a commitment to continue to care, about violence against women.

You can expect that MAC’s apology is not superficial, because they themselves have connected their apology and their method of restitution to their core identity. MAC has reflected on its values, acknowledges that it has acted inauthentically with regard to its values, and demonstrated a renewed commitment to these values in their apology process and outcomes.

Let’s celebrate MAC’s authentic apology.

It is shameful that MAC didn’t catch this problem before it happened; it is admirable that they are working towards an authentic apology. An apology that is linked to MAC’s identity and built into MAC’s system is real, and it will make a real difference.

For more of the story of how beauty bloggers pushed MAC to apologize, see Healing Beauty’s posts, starting with  Success! MAC Rodarte to Donate ALL Profits to the Women of Juarez.

{ 1 comment }

Nicole Feliciano August 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Thank you so much for telling me about this post at blogher. Sorry I had to dash when we met, but I do hope we can stay connected and this is such a compelling story about brand image.

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