Should Companies Be Punished for Their Association with the Trump Brand?
Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, activists and organizers have been pushing companies to disassociate themselves from his various business interests. Macy’s was one of the first companies to cut ties, after his campaign opened with derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants. Other companies followed.
Once Mr. Trump was elected, social media campaigns such as #grabyourwallet and #deleteuber became prominent. These campaigns urge consumers to refuse to do business with companies that sell Trump-branded products or that have leadership who are seen as too cozy with the administration.
These campaigns have achieved some success. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped Ivanka Trump’s branded line of clothing. Over 200,000 people deleted their Uber accounts, causing the CEO to resign from the President’s economic advisory council. Other companies appear to be taking notice. Airbnb ran a Super Bowl ad widely interpreted as being critical of the President’s immigration policies; Starbucks promised to hire more refugees.
Because of the continuing relationship between the President and his businesses, these protests may make some sense — by protesting the Trump family business interests, consumers are indirectly protesting the Trump presidency. But it is a fairly circuitous path to get there. There are also legitimate questions about whether these kinds of consumer protests have any effect on policies.