Kmart Tried To Create A Cute Mother’s Day Campaign But Spanish-Speakers Were Shook
Corporations love to try to be super relevant with their customers, especially around holidays when they are trying to sell stuff. This Mother’s Day was no different but one company really outdid themselves.
Kmart wanted to give people something to think about their Mother’s Day.
Allegedly, it seems that Kmart was attempting to merge the words Mama and Namaste to show that moms deserve to be treated to a peaceful and wonderful weekend. However, the result was a mistake of epic proportions for anyone who speaks Spanish.
Kmart thought that “Mamaste” was an appropriate word to use for their Mother’s Day campaign.
For those of you who do not know, mamaste is usually in reference to a sexual act. Mamar means “to suck” meaning it is used to talk about breastfeeding and a sexual act performed on a man.
Spanish-speakers on social media were quick to call out Kmart for their lack of linguistic understanding.
It just goes to show that the lack of diversity and cultural understanding is still a major issue in corporate America. If there was one Latino person in the meeting when this was being created, it might not have become this kind of marketing nightmare.
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world.
There are 450 million people in the world who speak Spanish natively. Forty-three million of those people live in the U.S. It can be argued that it is not that hard to find someone in the U.S. to make sure that a faux pas like this doesn’t happen, especially from major retailers.
Even if you look at it from the Asian point of view, the word doesn’t work in this context.
It seems like someone who likes yoga thought of this word meaning something different than what it does. The play on words does not hold up when you consider the real meaning of namaste. So, basically, people are arguing that Kmart failed on two different fronts in one campaign.
Again, this whole fiasco, while being free publicity, is something that should not be happening in 2020.
It is so important to cultivate a diverse and broad workforce. The more perspectives you have in an office, the most intelligent and inclusive your outreach can be. It is just one of the things that companies continue to learn yet are slow to adopt in practice.
Let’s hope that we will see fewer of these moments like this as we continue to evolve as a society.
We will see if Kmart and other retailers learn if this is a no-go mistake moving forward. We all make mistakes and this is, fortunately, funnier than it is damaging.