What is it that motivates companies to sign up to virtue-signaling ad campaigns that have absolutely nothing to do with their product, and may even damage the bottom line?
This month, two well-known corporate brands made a giant leap of faith, jumping into shark-infested waters to swim against the powerful current of cancel culture. Shockingly, not only did they survive the death-defying plunge, but it appears they are being rewarded for their bravado.
The first act of ‘heresy’ came from the CEO of Goya Foods, Robert Unanue, who accepted an invitation to the White House by Donald Trump to promote a program aimed at assisting the Hispanic American community. All things considered, just accepting the invitation was risky enough. But Unanue went one step further and actually heaped words of praise on the US leader.
“We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue remarked alongside Trump at the Rose Garden. “That is what my grandfather did. He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. We have an incredible builder … and we pray.”
Needless to say, the recriminations against the CEO came fast and furious, with celebrities and politicians promoting an actual boycott of Goya Foods, potentially putting at risk thousands of jobs. The social justice mob swept into action, demanding some sort of declaration of guilt from the CEO.
.@GoyaFoods has been a staple of so many Latino households for generations.
Now their CEO, Bob Unanue, is praising a president who villainizes and maliciously attacks Latinos for political gain. Americans should think twice before buying their products. #Goyaway https://t.co/lZDQlK6TcU
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 9, 2020
Indeed, whatever one may think of Donald Trump, the idea of cancelling a brand because the company’s CEO expressed his political sentiments is not only politically immature, it mocks the very notion of the First Amendment. And it seems that many Americans feel the same way. In fact, calls to make Goya products disappear from store shelves actually worked, but not in the way the radical left had been anticipating. Instead of caving to the mob, conservatives initiated a nationwide ‘buy-cott’ as Goya products began flying off the shelves, thus demonstrating that ‘cancel culture’ can cut both ways.
The Goya boycott looks like it’s working well. pic.twitter.com/fOamynAjei
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 13, 2020
Coincidence or not, the trend to shun Leftist group-think continued days later as Red Bull, the popular energy drink, made redundant Stefan Kozak, its North America chief executive, and Amy Taylor, its North America president and chief marketing officer. According to insiders quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Kozak and Taylor had “met opposition” while pushing for the Austrian–based company “to be more overt in its support of racial justice” following on the heels of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.
Red Bull’s decision to swim against the cultural current, as it were, largely comes down to the personal predilections of its CEO and founder, Dietrich Mateschitz, 76, who has expressed in the past his strong distaste for political correctness and woke culture. Although the Austrian billionaire may enjoy some wiggle room for avoiding America’s social justice mob, it may be just a matter of time before the powerful influence of the global-spanning movement makes him change his orthodoxy, much the same way it converted Chick-fil-A.
Last year, conservatives experienced a collective conniption fit as the fast food chain, famous for remaining closed on Sundays due to the religious beliefs of its founders, said it would stop making donations to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes due to those groups opposition to gay marriage and LGBTQ lifestyles.
.@ChickfilA had invaluable brand loyalty because of their beliefs and convictions.
Their customers were brand ambassadors who appreciated that they stood their ground while the rest of corp. America caved to leftist radicals.
Now they’re just another fast food chicken place.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) November 19, 2019
That volte-face by Chick-fil-A underscores the revolution that is occurring inside the halls of Corporate America, which appears to be less a mere reflection of social justice ideology than an actual hand-in-glove component of it. In other words, this is a top-down agenda being enforced by the elite, as opposed to anything remotely connected to a grassroots movement. How else can it be explained that the corporate world has never taken the time to ask if their cultural crusading on behalf of a minuscule percentage of the population makes any sense from a business perspective? It certainly doesn’t from a consumer perspective.
From Sprite hawking transgender lifestyles instead of carbonated sugar water, to Gillette proffering screeds against ‘toxic masculinity’ instead of selling razor blades, to Pepsi attempting to cash-in on the illusory ‘racial divide’ in the United States, the people – the target audience that has been conspicuously left out of the discussion – are growing weary of it. This much was confirmed in a recent poll by Politico, for example, that shows 46% of Americans think that political correctness and the ‘cancel culture’ it spawned has “gone too far.”
In an effort not to seem alienated from a raft of social movements, many of which have negligible meaning to average people, corporations are signing up to a number of initiatives, like the ‘Unstereotype Alliance,’ endorsed by none other than the United Nations. This program, which acknowledges that advertising is a “particularly powerful driver to change perceptions and impact social norms,” pushes to encourage advertisers to show “realistic, non-biased portrayals of women and men.” You know, where every shaving boy is actually a girl, for example, and every male is an overly aggressive animal who needs psychological treatment.
It certainly doesn’t stop there. Taking it as a given that America is plagued with institutional racism, which it is not, hundreds of companies are now throwing their support behind Black Lives Matter and others to the tune of millions of dollars. Facebook, for example, donated $10 million to “groups fighting racism,” while Bank of America pledged $1 billion over the next four years to focus on communities with “many people of color.”
Although companies have long made it part of their business plan to put on a face that they are showing compassion for the world’s least fortunate, what we have today is a radically different animal. Corporations, taking a cue from high up the food chain, are now in the business of, to quote the Unstereotype Alliance, “impacting social norms.” In fact, as befitting to this Cultural Marxist agenda, profits are not the most important thing anymore to these latter-day capitalists. The priority is to replace the economic and social system with something that bears no resemblance whatsoever to free market capitalism, perhaps some kind of twisted hybrid of socialism. Clearly, if the current system is to survive, together with our freedoms, the world needs more corporate leaders like Robert Unanue and Dietrich Mateschitz who aren’t afraid of standing up to the mob.