‘Undermining the credibility of the claims behind the brand is much more pernicious than people saying, “OK, let’s all punish this brand…”‘
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A new survey revealed that nearly three in 10 Americans had boycotted a brand for political reasons—but despite the vast array of virtue-signaling leftist companies, conservatives were roughly 10 percent less likely to do so.
Higher incomes, advanced degrees and liberal politics seemed to go hand-in-hand, revealing a direct correlation with likelihood to boycott, according to the poll released Monday by Morning Consult.
That included a recent boycott effort of SoulCycle, a pricey gym catered toward affluent idle-classers whose owner, Stephen Ross, was revealed in a Washington Post story to be planning a fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
“While it’s uncertain how much these three traits overlap among people who say they have boycotted services and goods for political reasons, liberal and wealthy both fit the typical customer profile at the latest company to suffer a major boycott—SoulCycle, where one class costs about $34 including tax,” Morning Consult noted.
Just under half of SoulCycle’s bookings come from three of the most liberal cities: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Although wealthy liberals earning more than $100,000 made up only around 4 percent of the respondents, the report noted that their purchasing power still had an impact due to their ability to wage high-profile pressure campaigns that were well covered by sympathetic media, often spreading to other companies.
While they may garner less exposure, conservatives, too, have been successful in boycotting companies that opposed their values—including those that capitulated to leftist pressure campaigns against gun-rights and other political wedge issues.
After Dick’s Sporting Goods pulled many of its firearms from the shelves, it faced a marked decline in revenue.
Conservatives also have seen success in thwarting attempted boycotts from the Left.
“There are people on the other side that get energized,” Maurice Schweitzer, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told Morning Report. “…They actually might boost sales.”
Food chains—including Christian based Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burger—also have benefited from counter-boycotts when the Left attempted pressure campaigns.
Even so, the unrelenting nature of Leftist politics—and the widespread influence it exerts over media—has deterred right-leaning business leaders often from broadcasting their views, lest they be doxed and terrorized by activist protestors.
On the other hand, some far-left companies, such as Nike, have decided after analyzing the numbers to take a calculated risk on riling consumers.
The apparel giant’s controversial choice of Colin Kaepernick as a pitchman resulted in widespread backlash—but that, in turn, increased its revenue share among younger and more liberal consumers who viewed it as an iconoclastic rebel for offending public sensibilities.
Although “Gen Z” consumers scored lower than their parents and grandparents on the boycott scale, a separate report released last week by Morning Consult determined younger liberals were more likely to reward a company that espoused their views.
While Morning Consult’s full consumer study was available to subscribers, it did not make its methodology immediately apparent in the analyses, suggesting the possibility of a leftward skew in respondents that may account for the same effect did not apply to right-leaning consumers.
It did, however, offer helpful advice for how to maximize—or counter—the impacts of a politically motivated boycott: By exposing the hypocrisy of a virtue-signaling company whose values did not align with their marketing image.
“Undermining the credibility of the claims behind the brand is much more pernicious than people saying, ‘OK, let’s all punish this brand by not shopping there for a while,’” Thomas Ordahl, chief strategy officer at brand consulting firm Landor. “Because whatever this issue is, people are pretty equipped to get over that quickly.”
Among the companies that have suffered from their inconsistent messaging is Starbucks.
While conservatives have long sought to boycott its leftist virtue-signaling, including its decision to secularize its Christmas packaging, liberals have found objectionable its pro-corporate approaches along with some isolated accusations of racial discrimination in stores.
The threat of founding CEO Howard Schultz, who sought to run as a left-wing “moderate” and potential third-party spoiler, also offended both the right and left before Schultz announced he was taking a medical leave of absence from his campaign early this year.