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Is There Such Thing As Bad Press: Amazon vs Fenty


Rihanna; a successful woman in both business and music. Her career started in the early 2000s, with the launch of her music career, which spanned from 2003 to 2018, with her presence on the music scene being most prevalent between 2007 and 2013. Although, there are rumours circulating that she may return to music after a hiatus, it seems she certainly has her hands full at the moment.

In September 2017, Rihanna launched her makeup business, Fenty Beauty which skyrocketed in popularity due to having such a broad range of foundation and concealer shades to include black women. To date, Fenty is still recognised as the brand with the greatest volume of shades; with an original catalogue of forty foundations, which has since been extended to fifty. Many customers are loyal to her company due to the high quality of makeup, and the close match that comes from the shades.


Fenty quickly broadened its horizons, including a wider variety of makeup, including eyeshadows, to their ranks, attracting more consumers due to the pigmented colours in each palette. Rihanna and those who worked for Fenty were able to identify gaps in the market, perfect for their brand.


The ethos of Fenty Beauty was stressed to focus on inclusivity, making sure that black women in particular did not have to ration their foundation due to it being so hard to access. Fenty’s range of shades was predominantly focused toward people of colour; in contrast to many high street makeup brands that cater toward white women, such as Rimmel London MAX Factor and Maybeline, who had significantly more foundations for white consumers to choose from.


Rihanna’s mission for inclusivity increased further when Fenty joined hands with Savage, a lingerie company, creating an affordable, body positive lingerie store in 2018. The models that they sought to use, as well as brand ambassadors, happened to be individuals with a large social media following. These models, such as Snitchery and LoeyBug, who previously went viral to wearing the same dress to an event to demonstrate that fashion is not just for the slim, were able to elevate the presence of the brand when it was just taking off.


She has continued down this body positive and inclusive route as Fenty further extended its reach into the market; with Savage X Fenty selling boxer shorts. It is not uncommon to see plus size men, men of colour, and models that do not fit the images associated with lingerie modelling set by Victoria’s Secret, throughout the marketing campaigns for Fenty.


Rihanna has demonstrated a significant knowledge of her market, and how to achieve her mission of making everyone shine bright like a diamond. Although the proceeds from her music career will have allowed this to take place to an extent, the revenue from Savage x Fenty, and Fenty Beauty, were significant factor in her achieving billionaire status as of August 2021.


Rihanna and the successes behind her as an entrepreneur, and the face of Fenty Beauty, demonstrates the significance of positive publicity. But, can bad press really impact your standings economically, or, is there truly no such thing as bad press.


Many will be aware of the richest man on earth, also known as the richest man in the known universe, Jeff Bezos, former CEO and founder of Amazon. The commercial takeover of Amazon is often demonized by the small business owner, as it is hard to compete with the money making machine at Bezos’ fingertips.


Despite the nature of poor working conditions, bad mental health management etc. being broadcast significantly more vocally, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, the need for consumers to receive immediate gratification, when suddenly presented with what felt like an endless void of free time, meant that many turned a blind eye, and actively utilised Amazon Prime, engaging in vices, hobbies and learning new skills via the vast catalogue that the company offers. Those who did actively refuse to seek their products and services from Bezos, unless it was completely unavoidable, likely did so due to understanding that the weight of Bezos’ fortune is so immense that, surely, there is no need to put more money in his pockets.


What many do not know, however, is how many other companies are owned by Bezos. Similarly, to how the Disney corporation sought to buy out its competitors to dominate the entertainment industry, buying Marvel, Star Wars, and more, Bezos owns many other companies, such as Goodreads, Audible and Twitch so it is much harder not to engage with him and put money into his pockets.


As the saying goes: with great power comes great responsibility, and with Bezos being the richest man in the known universe, you would expect that he would be spending his money, or distributing his wealth, especially in the wake of global warming, significant climate change, a growing homeless population etc. but, unfortunately, Bezos is not doing this. Instead, as many already know, his finances are being directed toward being a pioneer of space tourism, in a bid to immortalise his name in the history books.


The knowledge that Bezos has enough money at his disposal to significantly change the world; by donating to disaster relief, by creating programs to end world hunger, or to develop land to build shelters and rehabilitation centres for the homeless, without denting his fortune, rubbed many the wrong way.


As the comic Bo Burnham eloquently described in his song, Jeff Bezos, there is, genuinely, no way to avoid his influence: Come of Jeffrey you can do it, pave the way, put your back into it, tell us why, show us how, look at where you came from, look at you now. Zuckerberg, and Gates and Buffet, amateurs can f***ing suck it, f*** their wives, drink their blood, come on Jeff, get em!


Burnham is able to acknowledge the path that Bezos took in order to dominate the internet. Long ago, Amazon used to be a platform primarily to buy books, perhaps even ten years ago, the primary sales market was still literature, but in identifying the means in which the platform could expand, Amazon was able to spread out and increase its revenue tenfold.


However, analysis of the blood sucking and untouchable figure of Bezos over a capitalist society demonstrates how significant bad press can be, with the above lyrics going viral on the social media platform Tik Tok, with many being exposed to the previously unknown information about how rich and malevolent Bezos appears through not actively distributing his wealth for the benefit of those who have less money than he does.


At this moment in time, there is no clear means to record a correlation between Burnham’s music and a decline in engagement with Bezos and his companies, however, the nature of his song, and how catchy it is, means it is likely that many consumers will be plagued by this knowledge of Bezos’ power and influence, and likely make them think twice before renewing their Prime subscription.



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com

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