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‘We’ve let our members down’: MEC apologizes for ‘predominantly white’ advertising

Last Updated Oct 23, 2018 at 6:35 pm PDT


MEC is apologizing for not having enough diversity in their ads

In an email to members, the company says it's failed to represent the diversity of its members

MEC's CEO admits they've been part of the problem and are committed to learning from their mistakes.

CANADA (NEWS 1130) – Canadian outdoor company MEC is apologizing for not being diverse enough in its marketing materials.

The mountain equipment co-op says it let its members down by using predominantly white people on catalogues and campaigns.

“The truth is that we haven’t represented the diversity of Canadians or of our 5 million members,” read an email from MEC to its members. “This letter is about recognizing the role we’ve played in underrepresenting people of colour in the outdoors, and committing to change. It’s not OK.”

SFU marketing expert Steve Kates said this is especially important for co-op companies such as MEC.

“I think it’s one of the company’s obligations to understand the diversity of the membership that, you know, basically supports the company and makes the company what it is,” Kates said. “So they might have something of an extra burden.”

WATCH: MEC to stop carrying brands tied to U.S. gun-maker


The company promised to do better moving forward which Kates says is not unusual.

“Sometimes in these cases is called service recovery, when service business makes a mistake, it can correct it and provide a very high level of service and sometimes after that, brand loyalty and customer response are even stronger than before.”

RELATED: MEC faces calls to drop outdoor brands owned by U.S. gun manufacturer

In the email MEC’s CEO apologized, calling himself “another straight white male with a voice in the outdoor industry.”

“They acknowledge that they haven’t done the best job in the past and they’re going to try to do better,” Kates added. “So you know they’re apologizing and they’re hoping that the customers and the members will forgive them for past transgressions and that they can make amends for them.”

The company ends the email by telling members that they are committed to learning from their mistakes and that they are making a conscious decision to change.