Brands That Dare To Offend

Tiffany, Levis, Intel, and a slew of other brands ran ads last week in support of America’s continued participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

I wonder how many consumers are going to stop buying diamonds, jeans, and PCs.

Remember, lots of Americans don’t believe in climate change, and even more just assume it won’t effect them. Won’t they find these ads offensive?

Of course, at one level it’s just a publicity stunt. Tiffany’s stand-alone ad, and a larger group version, were both addressed “Dear President Trump,” in some faux petition format. The  content wasn’t anything new, and neither ad was terribly creative or compelling.

So maybe people will just write them off, the same way they do stunts like Super Bowl ads or inane viral campaigns. It’s unlikely that the President will respond. The ads are disposable political correctness.

But I think they serve a deeper purpose.

They’re markers. Stakes in the ground. Signposts for future reference.

Already, a segment of consumers hold the businesses behind their favorite brands accountable for policies on sourcing, manufacturing, and even personnel policies. They look for labels ensuring their tuna is “dolphin safe,” or a cup of coffee is “fair trade.”

The phenomena is larger than simply ethnical consumerism, which you could dismiss as just another set of selling attributes; the cologne that promised to make me irresistible to women when I was a teenager now needs to affirm that it wasn’t tested on animals, so it’s just trading one marketing pitch for another (I think it would be a mistake, though).

Products and services need to do more than they used to do…

Read the entire essay at Innovation Communicator