#DeleteUber, a social media campaign, won a victory this week. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, probably after some number crunching, decided that cooperating with Trump was a bad business decision. He’s not the only one. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus both announced that they’ll be dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, and tech companies are drafting an open letter to the Trump administration outlining their opposition to the #MuslimBan.
A new frame is emerging: Associating with Trump is bad for your business. It cuts right into Trump’s core argument for his presidency, and considering the purchasing power of the opposition (3 million more votes for Clinton than Trump alone) it’s easy to see a climate where businesses fear that supporting or associating with the Trump administration will cost loyal customers and revenue.
#DeleteUber offers a solid blueprint for future corporate pressure campaigns:s
- It was timely, the right target at the right moment.
- The executive order affected Uber’s employees.
- The social media campaign created noise and led to bad press
- There was an easy and impactful action for consumers to take.
The frog squad are trying their hands at this tactic as well but so far they haven’t had great success. Their first #TrumpCup protest against Starbucks involved sending people out to buy more coffee at Starbucks! Now they seem to have figured out how boycotts work and are properly boycotting Starbucks. They’re also boycotting Budweiser over a pro-immigration Super Bowl ad. However, a search of the #BoycottBudweiser or #BoycottStarbucks conversations on social media reads more like a campaign of targeted harassment than an actual effort to pressure corporations. The tone of their conversations online makes it easier for corporate America to ignore them.
We can’t make every corporation turn their backs on Trump, but we also don’t need to. We just need enough key victories to make companies think twice before they work with him. There’s already a site tracking what companies have come out against Trump’s #MuslimBan. I expect we’ll see a lot more actions built around corporate pressure and boycotts in the near future.
The above is an excerpt from Ctrl Alt Right Delete, a weekly newsletter devoted to understanding how the right operates online and developing strategies and tactics to fight back.