Edit: Check out the new update after you read this post!
(Photo from Oreo’s Facebook)
Is it just me, or did the issue of same-sex marriage just completely hit the fan?
Obviously the issues associated with homosexuality have been around for a while, but it seems like public opinion has begun to see the debate as strictly black and white. Maybe it’s the fact that this country is moving towards more accepting policies, or the way that social media blurs the line between a company and a person, but recently companies have been presenting their opinion on this VERY controversial topic.
Some recent supporters have been Ben & Jerry’s, Target, and Kraft Foods. Each company took a stand as brand to show their support. This sparked a fair amount of boycott threats and hate mail, especially toward Oreo’s rainbow cookie, but the companies have stood strong.
On the other hand, we have the recent fiasco with Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said this week that his company is “guilty as charged” in support of what he considers the biblical definition of the family unit. This statement has received boycott threats and hate mail, just like the companies that voiced their support. However, the company is trying to back out of the debate, stating that it hopes to leave same-sex issues to politics.
I give all aforementioned companies props for standing up for their beliefs. Still, what is it about this particular issue that is motivating brands to make a statement?
By picking a side in this very controversial debate the companies are making themselves more human. Having a set of personal values is one thing, but constructing a belief system based on issues that are outside your company control is a huge unnecessary risk. Still, it’s a risk that we (as a public) applaud companies for. It makes the organization look like it cares about something bigger, something that could lose them revenue, in a culture that seems all about making money.
It is important to state that if a company does choose to get involved with one of these social arguments they have to pick a stance and adhere to that. Getting partially involved but not adhering to a belief will appear to lack authenticity with the public. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if Chick-fil-A is percieved as superficial with the way they tried to smooth over the situation, but they never really denied the beliefs that Cathy stated so some people may consider that a form of agreement.
What are your opinions? Do you see Chick-fil-A’s response to Cathy’s statement as a cop-out or a form of agreement? Do you think companies should get involved with these debates or stay out? What makes certain companies seem more authentic than others?
Note: I don’t want to hear about personal opinions on same-sex marriage, only the way these companies communicated their beliefs.