Tuesday, July 25, 2017


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Is it good business for companies to make political statements? Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president over a year and a half ago, almost immediately stores started banning his products and making political statements with their businesses. How is it working for them?

Everyone from Macy’s, to the NFL to Starbucks have used their businesses to make a political statement, but is it helping them grow their business?

Macy’s was the first company to stop selling Trump products after he proposed the wall on the southern border during his campaign announcement speech.

Trump announced his candidacy on the 16th of July and on the 17th of July Macy’s stock was at a high of $72.31 per share. The stock was up since it hit a low of $5.73 in November of 2008.

By December of 2015, Macy’s stock dropped to $34.87 losing over half it’s value in the six months after announcing they will stop selling Trump products. The fifty percent drop in stock prices is not all of Trump’s fanbase refusing to shop at Macy’s. There are many factors that contribute to the fall of the stock, and as much as a Trump loyalists might claim, it wasn’t all about Trump.

Many businesses that have gone political have seen their buzz and viewerships decrease.

The NFL is another company that used Colin Kaepernick’s protest to grab headlines across the country and allowed anti-trump protests outside of the Superbowl. The league has a variety of challenges and they are not all political. The NFL has long game while people tend to have a shorter attention span than ever. The crackdown on safety is limiting some of the heard hitting action fans enjoy. Despite all the problems in the league, it doesn’t matter being political as well. It all leads to lower ratings.

The NFL has also seen a major drop in viewership. The ratings were down almost 8% this year.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz said his company would hire 10,000 refugees to combat Trump’s immigration plan. Although numbers have not been released yet to show the drop in sales, but if brand monitors YouGov is correct, Starbucks is taking a hit.

According to the brand perception tracking done by YouGov, Starbuck’s has seen a dramatic drop in the “buzz” category dropping from roughly 12% to below 5%.

The drop is significant since the Starbuck’s brand has maintained an average of around a 10 on the Buzz score for almost two years. Out of the above examples, Starbuck’s decision to oppose Trump’s immigration plan shows a direct decline in the brand’s “buzz”.

There is also a direct example of what happens if you support Trump. If you ask singer and songwriter Joy Villa, wonderful things happen.

The day after she wore a “Make America Great Again” gown to the Grammy awards, she went from virtual obscurity to the number one selling artist on Amazon and iTunes in 24 hours.

The Grammy Awards and the Oscars were two award shows filled with expected attacks on Trump, did that help get viewers?

The Grammy’s viewership was down almost 7% from last year in their target demo. Early numbers have the Oscars down over 4% this year.

As much as some people would like to claim, it isn’t all about Trump. The examples just show that there might be a risk at turning a business brand into a political statement.

Thoughts? Comment below.

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Retail chain Macy’s announced Wednesday that they will be severing ties with business magnate Donald Trump, citing his statements about Hispanics as the reason. Macy’s sells Trump’s line of clothes and fragrances.

Macy’s official statement reads in part “In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our businesscrelationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004.”

The remarks referenced came originally in a speech in which Trump announced his bid for the presidency, when he said in part “When Mexico sends its people… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people .”

Macy’s made its move after an interview a week later, when Trump said “I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border who are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad.”

Trump went on to say that the situation at the border is worse than most Americans know, and that if elected he would see to it that a wall is built.

Macy’s decision was driven in part by a petition from moveon.org, which to date has over 730,000 signatures. The heading of the petition says “Macy’s: Donald Trump does not reflect “the magic of Macy’s.” We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy’s says it has a strong obligation to be “socially responsible” and that “actions speak louder than words.” Indeed. It’s time to act.”

The wording is strange, given Macy’s continued association with notorious rappers Sean Combs, known by the aliases “Puffy,” “Puff Daddy,” and “P. Diddy,” and Jay-Z. Both men have made music that glorifies drug dealing, misogyny, and racial conflict, and both men have clothes available for sale on Macy’s website at the time of this writing.

Jay-z’s Rocawear label only has a few items listed, but Combs’ Sean John line is one of Macy’s featured brands, with a huge website presence.

Since Macy’s obviously only does business with people who reflect their values and the magic of Macy’s, it is instructive to take a look at the values Combs reflects.

Combs was charged in 1999 with gun possession and bribery in connection with a nightclub shooting. He was not convicted.

In May of 1999 Combs and two other men attacked Steve Soute over differences in the production of a music video. Coombs allegedly hit Soute with a champagne bottle, breaking his arm and jaw. The case was settled out of court.

A 2009 incident alleging racism and sexism relating to the casting of a Ciroc vodka ad shows up with multiple hits on a google search but is curiously not available on a number of the host sites. Combs put out a casting call for the ad seeking “White, Hispanic and Light-skinned African American” women. Blacks across the country were justifiably upset.

In 2011, Combs threw ice at a man and called him a “f****t” for drinking Grey Goose vodka instead of Combs’ Ciroc brand.

At a basketball game in 2012, Combs was interviewed on the sideline about starting a new television network. When asked about it, Combs responded “Yes, yes, Revolt TV, new network coming to you soon. The revolution will be televised, black power, you see it, put a fist in the air.” He then followed suit, raising his fist in the black power salute. In the same interview, Combs opined “White men can’t jump.”

2013 saw Combs causing outrage with an Instagram post of a painting depicting naked white women in awe of a naked black woman. He captioned the photo “As it should Be!!!!!!! #BlackIsBeautiful”

Combs was arrested again just last month, on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of battery, and one count of making terrorist threats. These charges stem from Combs attacking the UCLA Bruins football coaching staff, allegedly with a kettlebell exercise weight, over their use of his son. The younger Combs is a defensive back for the team.

There are numerous other incidents of reprehensible behavior in Combs’ history, too many to catalogue. It is good to know that Macy’s sees there values reflected accurately by a man who has been in trouble with the law for assault on numerous occasions, has been tied to murder, freely uses ethnic, sexist, and homophobic slurs, and generally has a total disregard for both the law and civility.

Compared to that, Trump’s rhetoric about illegal immigrants seems positively saintly. The message is clear: by shopping at Macy’s, you are endorsing bigoted and criminal behavior.


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