Would You Download An App To Help You Boycott Certain Products?

Not too long ago, I wrote a column about the merits of boycotts in advertising and marketing. It only got one comment (compared to the one I wrote about cursing which got 40.)

It turns out, however, that turning shoppers into active issue advocates is an idea that’s spreading. Forbes has an interesting article about Darcy Burner, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Washington state.

Burner, speaking at the Netroots Nation conference, pitched the idea of creating an app that people could download to see which products are made by companies owned by the Libertarian-leaning Koch Brothers, who own Koch Industries and are heavy contributors to political campaigns.

Now, the idea is only a hypothetical, but it occurs to me that we’re not far off from a world where more people pick and choose their products by the values of the companies that make them. This is a natural extension of the wishes of all the marketing gurus who preach “radical transparency” in marketing or that today’s most revered brands (and tomorrow’s most successful ones) have definitive “value systems.”

So what do you think? While Burner is a liberal espousing an app to boycott a conservative-led company, it could easily happen in the reverse scenario. Do marketers really want to get caught up in this? Are all companies with strong “values” better than companies with no readily apparent values? Or does the almighty dollar still reign supreme?

Me, personally, I don’t think we see much transparency in marketing these days, no matter how much marketing gurus preach the virtues of it.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.