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Top 10 Times Companies Took a Stance

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Good business doesn't always mean putting your politics aside. For this list, we're looking at corporations that made their position on a social or political issue known through advertising and/or major actions. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Times Companies Took a Stance. Special thanks to our user boxtroll for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Times+Companies+Got+Political.
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Script written by Owen Maxwell

Top 10 Times Companies Took a Stance


Good business doesn't always mean putting your politics aside. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Companies Took a Stance.


For this list, we're looking at corporations that made their position on a social or political issue known through advertising and/or major actions. We're basing our choices on a mix of controversy, powerful campaigns and how risky each move was.

#10: ‘Taking a Knee’ (2018)

Nike
San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick launched a protest movement against police brutality when he kneeled repeatedly during the national anthem starting in the mid-2010s. While Colin's actions drew scrutiny from many in the NFL and President Donald Trump, Nike turned his courage into a campaign. Nike plastered the slogan 'Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything' over an image of Kaepernick's face. Many consumers saw this as an anti-military and anti-American move, and proceeded to publically destroy their Nike merch in response. However, the backlash has instead raised awareness for the brand and provoked some purchases in support. All this press has led Kaepernick to try to trademark his face, while Nike gains social capital.


#9: "Born the Hard Way" (2017)

Budweiser
For Super Bowl 51, Budweiser released an ad highlighting the struggles their founder faced as a German immigrant. The commercial shows Adolphus Busch being told he's 'not wanted here,' while facing adversity until he meets Eberhard Anheuser. The advertisement was released days after Trump signed an order banning travel by immigrants from Muslim countries. This timing framed the campaign as anti-Trump, while Budweiser pointed out they'd been developing the concept for over a year. Though the ad is arguably politically ambiguous, it showed Budweiser as one of the few beer companies to make a statement against the president's values.

#8: "Touch of Care" (2017)

Vicks
Vicks has always stood by the idea of family care, so they worked with agency Publicis Singapore to challenge what that care looks like today. This early entry in their 'Touch of Care' series tells the story of Gayatri and her adoptive mother Gauri. After we learn about the wonderful childhood Gayatri has been given, it's revealed that her loving mother is transgender. Vicks also outplays other advertisers' trans representation by focusing on Gauri's struggles rather than her transition. Parent-company Procter & Gamble also launched ads critical of North Carolina's transgender bathroom laws. Vicks’ emotionally-driven approach paints a human story without slinging merchandise.


#7: 10, 000 Immigrants, Vets & Spouses (2017-18)

Starbucks
In response to Donald Trump's ban on immigrants, the American company Starbucks responded by pledging to hire 10,000 immigrants globally by the early 2020s. The coffee giant also encouraged employees affected by Trump's legislation to reach out for support. Starbucks' website collected success stories from their initiative to encourage others to join their company. In response to public outcry against their decision, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses. CEO Howard Schultz even said their company needed to build bridges with Mexico, not walls. By flying in the face of an executive order, Starbucks showed compassion during divisive times.



#6: Same-Sex Health Benefits (1996)

IBM
Back in 1996, IBM helped inspire corporate equality when it announced it would be extending benefits to partners in same-sex relationships. Their policy was exceptional as it allowed committed homosexual couples to gain benefits without marriage. Their announcement came on the heels of legislation barring homosexual marriage, which is why the policy started on a domestic level. Though IBM had a policy against discrimination for gay employees since 1974, they hadn't updated their benefits to match suit. While their foreign offices have taken time to catch up, they've continued standing up for workplace equity.



#5: "Daughter" (2017)

Audi
As a girl races to victory in her soapbox car, her dad bluntly describes how women are valued less than men in our current society. This bleak Super Bowl commercial from Audi ends with the car company declaring they're committed to equal pay in the workplace. It was a bold move that attracted more dislikes than likes, and prompted a look into Audi's imperfect history on the issue. This said, the company's recent female quotas and workforce initiatives are a step in the right direction. By framing equality though parenthood, Audi showed how important it was to get their message out there.


#4: Defunding the Boy Scouts (1992)

Levi's
After years of support for the Boy Scouts of America, Levi's decided to withdraw their contributions to the group in 1992. The jean manufacturer's move was a response to the Scouts' policy against accepting scouts or scoutmasters who are homosexual. Given that the Boy Scouts stated they would never abandon their values, Levi's noted they had no intention of making them change their ways. Boycott responses were so extreme that Texas congressman Tom DeLay even implied that people would be burning Levi's jeans in the street. Despite continued funding from other companies, ongoing pressure eventually pushed the Scouts to accept gay members.



#3: "The Talk" (2017)

Procter & Gamble
In “The Talk,” African-American parents sit their children down to talk about enduring racism in a hard-hitting ad from Procter & Gamble. The commercial explores racial slurs, biased police and even complex subjects like universal beauty. My Black Is Beautiful worked with P&G on the campaign, which encourages African-American children to stay strong and preserve their self-worth. Additional spots also highlighted true stories of facing adversity and dealing with ingrained bias. Their efforts earned enough positive reception to win an Emmy and the Cannes Grand Prix. With more positive messages to sell than products, Procter & Gamble's 'The Talk' is more of a PSA than anything else.

#2: Pulling Out of North Carolina (2016)

PayPal
In 2016, Charlotte, North Carolina was set to open a PayPal operation center that would bring 400 new jobs. However, PayPal cancelled their plans in response to the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which they felt discriminated against homosexual and transgender people. The bill required people to use restrooms matching their birth certificates, which earned public outcry from over 100 corporations. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman insisted they couldn't be an employer in a state where employees wouldn't have equal rights. PayPal put their money where their values were and have insisted they have no future plans for North Carolina.


Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

"♥ Immigration: British Style is not 100% British" (2017)
Jigsaw


"We Accept" (2017)
Airbnb



"Brexit Special" (2016)
Ryanair


#1: Apartheid Pull-Out (1985)

Pepsi
Due to the racism and violence of apartheid in South Africa, Pepsi made a political statement by pulling out of the country back in 1985. The move, which obviously came at a considerable financial cost, marked a rare case of a company giving up a market for moral reasons. When Pepsi returned in 1994 after Mandela took office, their social currency was outweighed by Coca Cola's monopoly in South Africa. The soda company has attempted to establish themselves in the country since, but has only managed to make headway with their chip sales. Despite heavy setbacks, Pepsi maintains leaving was the right thing to do.


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