Business Week has a fascinating article up looking at the political donations of various American companies and the consumer boycotts that have resulted. There are numerous examples of companies going ‘Blue’ or going ‘Red’ and consequently finding themselves in a Public relations nightmare, as opponents begin launching major campaigns through television, radio and blogs, attacking the company’s political choices.
While many companies seem to do the right thing and respond to these criticisms with a clear, concise, non-political message, a lot of companies seem to panic. For example, Ford responded to complaints that it was prejudiced against homosexuals by switching sides, outraging family values advocates. At the end of the day, Ford simply came across as looking hypocritical, where as other companies like Miller dialogued with those who were outraged and tried to reach compromises.
And listen to this:
Although [Wendy's] hamburger chain’s PAC has given 93% of its campaign contributions to Republicans over the past five years, it views itself as a “nonpolitical company” that does not take positions on controversial issues, says spokesman Denny Lynch: “We serve customers on both sides of the aisle.” Wendy’s backs winners, he says, and today those incumbents are mostly Republican. “We’re not a red company,” Lynch says. “If Democrats start winning, we’ll move our money to Democrats. It’s just business.”
Isn’t it refreshing to hear a corporation just straight out admit that it has no political values and is simply gaming the system? Paying the bribes where they’re due!
Impromptu poll time. Have you ever boycotted a company for political reasons? What company was it? What were the reasons?: Let us know in the comments section.
Companies In The Crossfire [Business Week]