Political Brands
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Political Brands

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

From ‘I Like Ike’ to Trump’s MAGA hats, branding and politics have gone hand in hand, selling ideas, ideals and candidates. Political Brands explores the legal framework for the use of commercial branding and advertising techniques in presidential political campaigns, as well as the impact of politics on commercial brands. This thought provoking book examines how branding is used by citizens to change public policy, from Civil Rights activists in the 1960s to survivors of the 2018 Parkland massacre.
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Chapter 3: Branding corporations

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

Abstract

Corporations have two contradictory laws to follow from the Supreme Court. Under Citizens United v. FEC, corporations have the right to spend an unlimited amount of money on political ads; meanwhile, under Beaumont, corporations are still banned from giving political donations directly to federal candidates. This chapter shows the data of publicly traded companies using their Citizens United right to fund American Super PACs from 2010_18. This spending is heavily skewed toward Republicans. But this political spending is also risky because customers and investors who support Democrats may reject a corporation for its political position. This chapter also notes how corporations can get unwittingly dragged into political fights, including being used by a polarizing politician; and the risks that companies may run if they are sucked into a political scandal like supporting a candidate that turns out to be embarrassingly racist.

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