Summer Of Brand Boycotts: A Report Card


The hot brand trend this summer? Boycotts!

Several major brands have been taking public relations hits over a range of issues. The one unifying theme is that activists (or the just plain agitated) are urging other consumers to press for change (i.e. their agenda) by shunning these brands at the checkout. More than ever, they’re using social media to organize and spread the word.

Brandchannel’s latest report card looks at brands enduring the Summer of Boycott™ and just how much these actions could be damaging them.[more]

Brand: The Los Angeles Times

Boycott: After the L.A. Times newspaper used student test score records to publish a story evaluating the effectiveness of teachers, the Los Angeles teachers union called for a “massive boycott” of the paper. While the Times reporting will probably improve its brand with everyday readers, teachers will certainly come back too. Where else are they going to learn how short on budget their district is this year?

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 1

Brand: Hyatt

Boycott: Hyatt workers upset with wage and medical benefit cuts at many of Hyatt’s locations have performed “flash mob” protests (above) to bring attention their cause. The good naturedness of the tactics make it almost impossible to dislike the aggrieved.

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 3

Brand: Target

Boycott: Upset over political donations by the retailer to an anti-gay rights politician, Target itself became a target after several groups called for a boycott until it made amends, including picketers at last week’s fall fashion debut in New York. But the fragmented focus of the different groups has left it unclear exactly how the brand is supposed to do right by its consumers. While one group demands Target make equal donations to pro-gay rights candidates,’s boycott is demanding Target never donate politically ever again.

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 1

Brand: Fubon

Boycott: Environmentalists claim that an investment in a petrochemical project by Fubon Financial Group is highly damaging to mother nature. Protestors are calling for a full boycott on Fubon’s services, including asking consiumers to cut up their Fubon cards, until the finnacial giant withdraws from the project.

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 2

Brand: Pampers

Boycott: Parents claiming that Pampers DryMax diapers gave their children chemical burns started a boycott. Pampers initial PR reaction left much to be desired

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 3


Brand: A bunch of them

Boycott: While “Fijian Boycott” may sound like the name of a cool ska-rock band, it is a reality for national sausage casing manufactures. Fijian Hindu organizations are calling for a boycott of all sausage products following the discovery that some were made with beef. The boycott will continue until all ingredients are disclosed by manufacturers. Is there anyone not on the side of the protesers here?

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 4


Brand: The Catholic Church

Boycott: In protest of the Vatican’s treatment of women, 80-year-old Irish woman Jennifer Sleeman has called for a boycott of Sunday Mass. Don’t laugh. The “grandmother from Cork” is already getting tons of press for her cause (a Catholic Church boycott has been championed by Irish singer Sinead O’Connor for years). If you’re going to boycott a brand, might as well be ambitious about it; and while other activists in the Summer of Boycott™ stand to lose something, none are asking others to put their beliefs on the line.

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 5

Brand: BP

Boycott: An environmental activist-led boycott movement started targeting BP (Greenpeace didn’t call for a boycott, but did mess with BP’s logo) — but the transportation realities of many Americans made the movement unfeasible. But then the leak stopped and everything is fine now so it doesn’t matter. Or does it? The Boycott BP Facebook page is still active, and questions remain about the extent of the spill damage, the impact on the environment and compensation to victims. So this one isn’t dead in the water yet.

Grade (1 to 5 Gandhis): 3