Chapter 11: Branding boycotts
Increasingly, commercial choices are taking on a political valence. Empirical evidence from polling confirms that customers are willing to end their patronage of businesses over corporate involvement in politics. In 2017, a poll by Ipsos showed that one-quarter of U.S. consumers claimed that they had boycotted a company for its political stance. Another survey of registered voters in 2017 found that half had reported participating in a boycott. Boycotting goes back to the Founding, when British tea and other taxed goods were boycotted by American colonists to protest taxation without representation. This American tradition was picked up by African Americans including Martin Luther King Jr., who urged customers to boycott Wonder Bread to make political points about social injustice. This chapter explains how the Supreme Court recognized that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment. And finally, it examines boycotts (and buycotts) that target the Trump brand.
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