Nikes advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick drew Donald Trumps ire but are they both exploiting a similar technique?
Whats more American: blue jeans or guns?
It used to be you didnt have to choose. That was before the announcement last week by Levi Strauss & Co, the 165-year-old denim company, of a partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety and other gun violence prevention groups.
While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option, the Levis chief executive, Chip Bergh, wrote. Business has a critical role to play and a moral obligation to do something.
The National Rifle Association scoffed, declaring a particularly sad episode in the current surge in corporate virtue-signaling.
We can only assume that Levis accountants have determined that resulting skinny jeans sales will be enough to offset the permanent damage to their once-cherished brand, the gun lobbyists said.
The Levis move did not have the markings of a purely venal business play: Bergh, a former US army captain, has spoken out about guns before. But with Nike unveiling Colin Kaepernick as its latest spokesman the same week, and a startling wave of brands taking stands on issues they might previously have shunned, the NRA accusation had bite. Is this new brand bravery for real? And if so, whats driving it?
As consumers are roiled by Facebook fights and riven by mistrust in Donald Trumps America, corporations have confronted the old question of how to move product with sometimes experimental answers, analysts say, and deeply mixed results.
More and more, consumers are looking for brands that stand for something and take a position, so that they can make a decision for themselves if that represents their identity and their values, said Todd Fischer, a senior vice-president at GMR Marketing, a global agency. Brands have been pulled deeper into the conversation.
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