Earlier, the purpose of brands and companies was to promote their products, but as time passed, people realized that they could also give a platform to social issues and the means to tackle them. Some may have a political agenda behind it, but choosing to stay silent is worse than trying to take a small action against these issues.
Here are some recent times that companies took a strong stance on social issues. They may have received backlash for it, or people may not have agreed upon what they promoted, but these companies tried to make a difference.
Black Lives Matter supported by Nike
In early 2020, the United States saw the nasty side of racism when a white police official murdered an African American, George Floyd. He sparked bitter unrest called the Black Lives Matter Movement in the United States along with his death. Within ten days of George Floyd’s murder, Nike posted an ad on all its social media accounts stating, “For once don’t do it.” with the hashtag #UntilWeAllWin. It received such positive feedback from both its consumers and competitors that its longest rival, Adidas, also reposted their tweet. The CEO of Nike, John Donahoe, promised to expand the diversity of Nike employees and support black communities.
Anti-Gun Policy supported by Walmart
When two consecutive mass shootings happened at Texas and Mississippi inside their stores, Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon announced that their stores would no longer sell any kind of handguns or ammunition for firearms in the whole of the United States. He also urged for a thorough background check on people who purchased guns and ammunition to the White House and Congress. Walmart being America’s largest retailer, received lots of backlash from their pro-gun customers like hunters. But, McMillon claimed that the safety of his employers and customers came first than receiving profits from the sale of guns and ammunition.
Refugee Crisis supported by Airbnb
In 2017, when Donald Trump reigned as the President of the United States, he ordered the temporary closure of all the borders in the country to stop the migration of refugees. This policy garnered a lot of negative criticisms from many Americans and people from other countries worldwide. During these turbulent times, Airbnb aired an ad in the Super Bowl known as ‘We Accept’ criticizing President Trump’s policy. Airbnb donated a sum of $400 million to the International Rescue Committee committed to helping displaced people who seek asylum and refuge in the US. It received a re-tweet of over 33,000 tweets within half an hour of its airing, making it one of the top advertising hashtag #WeAccept.
Ban of Cigarette sale supported by CVS Health
In 2014, CVS Health became the first and only pharmaceutical chain in the United States to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in all their pharmacies worldwide. The CEO of CVS Health, Larry Merlo, stated that although the pharmaceutical chain received a profit of $2 billion every year from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products alone, this will not bring any good to society. CVS Health made the ban of cigarette sales their mission to get something good for public health and to enhance themselves as a healthcare business. In 2019, it launched a campaign worth $50 million to educate teens on the health crisis of vaping to prove their stance more.
Recovering from the Pandemic supported by Tommy Hilfiger
The Covid-19 Pandemic has shaken many industries worldwide. Some are trying to recover bit by bit, while some have gone out of business. In these unpredicted times, Tommy Hilfiger launched a social campaign called ‘Moving Forward Together,’ aiming to support people who were left unemployed by the Pandemic. The campaign seeks to make consumers aware of the leftover fabrics to recycle and upscale into high-quality, fashionable clothes. It further progressed by partnering its campaign with a learning program called FutureLearn. The campaign hosts learning courses from their brand ambassadors like Indya Moore and Jameela Jamil to teach about building diverse communities and awareness about LGBTQ+ plights.
One of the many reasons companies choose to take a stronger stance on political issues is that consumers are more purpose-driven and belief-driven. They want to associate with brands that make a positive impact on society. Consumers want to purchase products that they believe can contribute something good to the community.