by Robert Bridge, Strategic Culture:
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.