Selling Political Activism

Ice cream icon Ben & Jerry’s  recently launched a campaign in Australia, banning customers from purchasing two scoops of the same flavor until marriage equality is legalized (in Australia).

While I agree that this issue is incredibly important, I question the effectiveness of the campaign coming from an ice cream shop.

We now live in a world of activist-targeting campaigns, where our own individual ideals are repackages and sold back to us with a new branded label each week.

But in a post-Kendal-Jenner-Pepsi-Fiasco world, I would argue that brands need to be more careful about virtue signaling campaigns. In their own PR materials explaining the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s made reference to a poll citing that 72% of Australians approve of same-sex marriage. This would indicate that the goal of this campaign is not to change minds and win hearts. While it succeeds in attracting attention, it may come off as co-opting the gay rights movement, which I’m sure is not the intention of the company.

It seems to me that more often than not, companies are slipping into the grey area between contributing to causes and capitalizing off of them. The question now is how much longer this practice will be tolerable for consumers.


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