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Monday, July 24, 2017

"We Screwed Up Badly;" Dan Gilbert Pulls Tone-Deaf Ad Campaign in Detroit

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 9:33 AM

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While just about every outlet in Detroit began circulating content over the weekend reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the city's 1967 summer of civil unrest, a photo from present-day Detroit went viral — causing many to reflect instead on the state of race relations in Detroit in 2017.

The photo showed a window wrap on a downtown Detroit building owned by Dan Gilbert's real estate company Bedrock, featuring a crowd of people accompanied with the slogan "See Detroit Like We Do." Notably, the crowd shown on the wrap appeared to be almost entirely white, in a city where the majority of residents are black.


As the image made the rounds on Sunday, Gilbert took to Bedrock's Facebook just before 11 p.m. to apologize for the "tone deaf" ad and announce that Bedrock was dropping the ad and slogan.



"Although not intended to create the kind of feelings it did, the slogan/statement we used on these graphics was tone deaf, in poor taste and does not reflect a single value or philosophy that we stand for at Bedrock Development or in our entire Family of companies," Gilbert wrote. "We have killed the 'See Detroit As We Do' campaign."

In the post, Gilbert explained that image was intended to be part of larger wrap on downtown's Vinton Building, which Bedrock has been renovating for the past two years. Only part of the wrap was installed by Friday, with the rest scheduled to be completed this week.

"The graphic that was completed Friday was unfortunately, not diverse or inclusive when looked at by itself," he wrote.

However, Gilbert said after concerns were raised, they decided to scrap the ad entirely.

"We immediately killed this dumb campaign slogan as soon as it was communicated more widely in our company," he wrote. "You won't be seeing that tagline anywhere again."

He also shared renderings of what the full ad would like, which was to include "a very diverse and inclusive assembly of pictures consistent with our city, all of our companies' work force and the strong values that has always been at the very foundation of our businesses."

Read Gilbert's full post below:


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