When you purchase a pair of blue jeans or your favorite pair of sneakers, do you feel as though you’re making a political statement? You wouldn’t normally think so, as major multi-national corporations don’t tend to take a strong stand for or against hot-button topics.
Recently, leaders of two major enterprises — Levi and Nike — decided to break with tradition and signal their political stance in the most public way possible. Let’s just say that the statements that are being made are unlikely to be greeted positively by their core customer base.
Levi Strauss Pushes Gun Control
Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss, vented his feelings about the lack of gun-control measures in the latest Fortune magazine edition. He states that his opinion will be “unpopular with some”, but that doesn’t stop him from wading into the deep end of this politically charged conversation. Bergh is a former U.S. Army officer, but he isn’t deterred from putting the weight of his enterprise behind attempting to enforce stricter policies for purchasing firearms. The stance, which is stated as the official stance of the organization, is unlikely to be popular throughout middle America — the heartland of Levi Strauss sales.
Nike Shoes Backs Kaepernick
Ahh, Kaepernick. The name that ruined football for millions of Americans has lent his campaign to yet another ruinous enterprise. Nike has decided that Colin Kaepernick, made famous for taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem to protest the treatment of people of all colors, is the ideal face for their latest campaign. This political step into a highly-charged debate has led to numerous online videos of individuals cutting Nike logos off of their clothing, burning expensive shoes and otherwise defacing the brand’s logo in exceptional ways. The 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is doing something alright — and that something is alienating millions of individuals throughout the U.S. and the world. Their activism and racial justice statements are thought to be more of a marketing campaign than a true political stance, but either way, it’s causing some serious waves throughout the country.
Straddling the Line Between Sales and Entertainment
These loud protests are causing American consumers to lose trust in some of the nation’s oldest and most trusted brands. What remains to be seen is whether there will be any true change that comes from the “statements” that are being made throughout the media. It’s likely that the loudest statement is going to be the American people as they vote with their wallets and refuse to purchase items from these iconic brands.
Levi Strauss is likely to discover that the same issues that met Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart will be headed to their doorstep — people making a switch to a different brand that isn’t serving up a side of activism with their favorite blue jeans.
~ Firearm Daily