The First Amendment gives Kanye West the right to say whatever he wishes. The Black rapper can wear his “White Lives Matter” T-shirt all he likes while making antisemitic and racist comments.
However, there should be financial consequences for such activities.
After he threatened to “Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” West’s 31.5 million followers suddenly found him booted off Twitter and Instagram.
Adidas ended its long-term partnership with him, calling his recent comments “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.” To them, it’s worth $246 million in lost sales to avoid further relations with him.
The Gap is winding down its two-year affiliation with West. So is Balenciaga.
And did I mention that his agent, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), fired him as a client?
West felt he could do whatever he wants without blowback. However, his corporate sponsors quickly recognized the negative impact his hate speech could have on their respective brands.
Here’s the thing: Despite his comments that Cancel Culture is trying to shut him down, nobody is stopping him from saying whatever he wants.
However, Adidas isn’t obliged to support and normalize his hate speech. The company recognizes that no consumer is obligated to buy its sneakers, and it’s going to lose lots of business by continuing its relationship with a hatemonger.
Boycotting or supporting companies based on their political positions is hardly new. Disney was boycotted after the company opposed “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. Hundreds of companies were called out for not exiting Russia after the Ukraine invasion.
Nestle’s. McDonald’s. Welch’s. Levi’s. Chick-fil-A. The list of companies that consumers have protested over the years is endless.
And, given America’s dysfunctional political scene, angry calls for boycotts can be expected to increase exponentially.
There’s a lesson here for every business. You’re entitled to your personal or corporate opinion, but recognize that many people will reflexively reject your position and stop buying whatever you’re selling.
Plus, if you use celebrity endorsements to hawk your wares, their addictions, behaviors and political positions can be expected to reflect on you.
To help determine if you (and your bottom line) are okay with these reflections, do some in-depth vetting before you ally your business with someone famous.
Because fame may not bring wisdom or class, but it can bring notoriety.With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Find free marketing tools at www.askmrmarketing.com.