Branding and Social Issues

This morning the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage is legal in the United States. A landmark decision that brings to light what I wrote about when the owner of DieselTec chose not to serve an openly gay couple. This is a moment that is to be celebrated across the country and clearly online. But, what should brands do in this moment?

It took Maytag 4 minutes to push out this piece of creative that pairs the Maytag man perfectly with himself. Let’s pretend for a moment that we aren’t suggesting that clones are the only same-sex partners that are “perfect” and focus on if this is something a brand should be doing?

Until this morning there were only 14 states that banned same-sex marriage, sadly Michigan was one of them. That means that in 70% of the country same-sex marriage was legal, however in the most recent Gallup Poll on the matter only 60% of the people surveyed agreed with, let’s just call it like it is, equality.

But should your brand interject itself into this debate?

It is tremendous to see brands prepared for the decision with creative that is on brand and supports marriage equality, my question is are they ready for what’s next?

Let’s remember in 2012 when Oreo broke the Internet by posting this on facebook around 8p on June 25th. Despite the 1 million likes they got on the post, they also accumulated comments like this “I’m never eating Oreos again. This is just disgusting.” As of this writing they are suspiciously silent on the matter- which is sort of my point.

As a brand if you want to support the landmark decision, my hat is off to you. However, many times it feels as if brands jump on these moments to pander to millennials since they read a study that millennials want to enjoy brands that do things that matter:

For this group of consumers, not only is brand loyalty important, but it is earned through product quality, a good customer experience, and the brand’s support for society.

Make no mistake today’s 5–4 judgement is something worthy of marketing- but marketing because equality on all fronts is paramount to what this country was founded on. What it isn’t, is an opportunity to sell more cookies, washers, or airline tickets.

So why did your brand post about #marriageequality today?

I will leave you with the profound words of Justice Kennedy as we celebrate:

”No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” Kennedy wrote. “As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.”

Eric HultgrenComment