With the country divided along political ideologies, it seems like a bad idea to mix your brand message with political leanings. Some are taking a not-so-subtle approach in advertising, but is it smart marketing? 1 in 4 people have boycotted a product because of political leanings.
The issue is for brands is do you need declare or can you keep your head down? If consumers are “organizing their brands around their political identity, according to the research firm Ipsos, can you afford to stay on the sidelines?
It’s a slippery slope for most, yet for some of us, being pulled in may not be our decision. You need to have a plan if for some reason you are singled out or pulled into a political debate about your products or services. We call this a PR crisis and it is better to be prepared than winging it when it breaks. Yet some brands transcend the political correctness. Apple’s CEO has taken strong stands in speeches and in advertising, but you don’t see an organized product boycott.
For some the political divide is providing creative fodder for comedy. Smirnoff launched a campaign mocking the Russia investigations. Again, this may seem like poking a sleeping lion, but in this hyper cluttered world, it may be the way to breakthrough. In spite of the material opportunity, you need to really know your audience and have a PR plan in place if it all goes wrong.