12.02.2016

Market Your Product Without the Lecture

The first purpose of business is to make a profit.  A company’s goal is to make money.  All other considerations are secondary.

It is emotionless and calculating.  It is not a living creature, but an entity which operates on the foundation of statistics.

For years now, corporations have stepped across the line into non-traditional social and political areas, with mixed results.  This past U.S. presidential election threw the spotlight on businesses whose public image aligned on one side or the other.

Even before the race for the White House, businesses were becoming socially active, with the likes of Starbucks jumping into the fray.

The question is, why?  Is this new trend of the politically-outspoken business here to stay, or will consumers recognize it for what it is: marketing?

To be more accurate, a marketing gamble which has already proven misguided in several instances.

A few years ago in Canada, several companies who pride themselves on being ‘green’ decided to join together in the social justice cause against oil.  While lauded by those mostly in the Eastern part of the country, those in the oil-producing provinces took note and actively boycotted the businesses involved.

The backlash was palatable. 

Not lost on those particularly in Alberta was the fact that these so-called environmentally responsible companies were more than willing to accept the dollars from consumers who make their living in the energy sector.

‘Your industry is evil, but we’ll gladly take the money you make from it.’

Hypocrisy.

The marketing experiment soon fizzled out when the bad PR outweighed the good.


We continue to see corporations step into the abyss, with Kellogg’s being the latest.  The marketing departments within these corps will soon discover this move into the arena of socio-political debate will not only damage their brand image in the long run, but it will cause an immediate drop in earnings and stock value.

No matter where one stands on an issue, public debate is public debate.  Businesses cannot tell the general public how to side on an issue.  It’s not their place.

We don’t need a socially conscious message attached to our Pop-Tarts.


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