Is it worth brands being political?

Published: 6-Jun-2017

It might be tempting to make known your opinion known when political tensions rise, but doing so can change consumer perceptions of your brand and is therefore something to consider carefully

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-- By Lucy Tandon Copp and Patricia Mansfield-Devine

What do Unilever, Illamasqua, Lush and Dr. Bronner’s all have in common, aside from being cosmetics companies? Over the past year they have all launched advertising campaigns or messaging that conveys a political stance.

Trump has been a common theme, although other socio-political issues have also filtered through to consumers.

Back in February, Unilever ran a print advertising campaign in The Times and The Guardian that mocked Trump’s administration by publishing a list of its own #AlternativeFacts related to its Dove deodorant brand.

Meanwhile, Illamasqua went as far as saying that it no longer wanted Trump supporters wearing its products and that it would not knowingly sell products to Trump backers.

A post shared by LUSH Cosmetics UK (@lush) on

Lush, no stranger to human rights and cruelty-free campaigns, took a stand against Trump’s immigration ban and displayed a message in its store windows that promoted freedom of movement.

Away from Trump, Lush has also advertised its position on the death penalty, openly campaigning to end capital punishment.

And Dr. Bronner’s has continued its efforts to campaign for fair pay and has re-emphasised its support for marijuana reforms. It also reacted to Trump’s election, donating $50,000 to the National Immigration Law Center shortly after the immigration ban was enforced.

Weighing the risks

But what do companies like these achieve – or risk – when publicising their socio-political stances?

According to the 4A’s, a trade association for the advertising agency industry, the majority of consumers do not like it when

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