Thursday, 24 November 2016

Brand Boycott

With Black Friday and its antidote, Buy Nothing Day (which has been going since 1992), I thought I'd have a look at boycotting brands.

Despite the blah-blah about empowered consumers or prosumers or whatever they're called this week, people have been boycotting brands, companies and organisations for as long as Captain Charles Boycott (that's him above) gave his name to this particular form of protest. This was back in the 1880s, Boycott was a land agent and it all happened during the Irish 'Land War.' Captain Boycott was the subject or victim of boycotting, by the way.

Historical examples include the boycotting of Nestle over their unscrupulous marketing of infant formula in the 1970s, and also from that era, the boycotting of Barclays over their South African apartheid connections. No student worth their salt would have been seen dead banking at Barclays in the late 70s and early 80s. I blogged about these 'bad brands' here.

I suppose it is inevitable that someone would compile a helpful list of all the pies that Donald Trump has his fingers in (I hope that metaphor doesn't cause too many distressing images) and here it is: #GrabYourWallet: A Boycott List Of CompaniesThat Do Business With And/Or Back The Trump Family.

The spreadsheet also provides Trump-free alternatives to amazon, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Zappos and the rest. Full marks to the hashtag in terms of creativity, but none to the spreadsheet. Still, it's the thought that counts.

Boycotting brands is one way of expressing your distaste and making a protest. I read another article this week that shows that brands can also be used to spite your partner when relations aren't tip-top and rosy. I suppose it's similar to turning on your other half's least favourite music at top volume if you want to annoy them.

I'm sure there are a few US couples who agree about everything except politics. And, for every potential boycotter, there's probably a Trump supporter examining that spreadsheet in glee to see how they can further rub the nose of their better half in his victory.

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