Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yeah, Well, You Know, That's Just Your Opinion, Man

Recently, Oreo has made public their support for gay marriage with a Facebook post and photo of a rainbow stuffed Oreo cookie. The image and post got a huge response from Oreo followers, but not all of it was positive. While some people praised Oreo and Kraft Foods for coming forth and supporting same-sex marriage, others have stated their displeasure in Oreos views, even saying that they will never purchase Oreos again. Oreo isn’t the first company, or the last, I am sure, to make public their standing on same-sex marriage.

JC Penny came under attack back in May for running an ad that featured a lesbian couple with their kids. The attack was lead by the group One Million Moms, an online group dedicated to cleaning up “harmful media” that they feel is having a negative effect on children. OMM didn’t seem to faze JC Penny however, who recently ran a Father's Day campaign featuring a gay sex couple with their two kids.

Other companies such as KY Products and Gap have featured gay couples in their ads as well. Even the Green Lantern, a DC Comics super hero, has been re-released as a gay man. Is all this public support for gay rights good for business? Is that even the point?

During the months leading up to the vote on Amendment One in North Carolina, all of the big NC based firms, like Duke Energy or Bank of America, stayed silent about their views on the issue. It appears this was a good decision. Replacements Limited, a company based in Greensboro made large donations to the same-sex marriage cause, sold shirts in their stores, and sponsored a billboard on an interstate near their headquarters.

The result? Many orders were dropped, and the company received many negative emails, letters, and phone calls. It appears that in North Carolina the issue of same-sex marriage is still a topic that will earn you as many enemies as friends. It may be better to keep out of controversial topics, at least when it comes to increasing the bottom line in North Carolina.

If a company is willing to take losses for standing up for what they believe in, I guess more power to them. What I am more interested in is:

First, is the reaction people would have if Oreo (or some other brand) came out and supported that same sex marriage should remain illegal.

The second is how much a company can lose in supporting a controversial topic.

I am willing to guess that a person is more likely to stop purchasing Oreos because they do not like what Oreo stands for than one is to start purchasing them for the same reason. Those who strongly disagree with the brands views may decide to find a new type of cookie or perhaps start buying the knock off brand. I am certainly not going to start buying Oreos now because Oreos and I share similar views one marriage.

What is your take on a brand showing support for a controversial topic? Should companies make vocal their opinions, or is it better for business if they stay quiet? What would be the response be if Oreo had come out and stated that they didn’t support Gay marriage?

*The opinions of this article do not reflect those of the company, either way.*