| Boycott Watch has often reported the inherent failure
of businesses donating to hot-button political organizations, as it polarizes
the customer base. That happened with Chick-fil-A, as the company president
made a statement that he was against gay marriage, resulting in a boycott of
the company. When the word got out, a massive counter campaign was formed,
resulting in long lines at Chick-fil-A stores as people stood in line,
sometimes for hours, to show support for the company. The reaction surprised
some, but Boycott Watch sees a trend which puts political conservatives in the
consumer drivers' seat.
After Whole Foods was boycotted three years ago when the
took a stance against the Affordable Health Care Act / Obama Care, Tea
Party activists staged events to bring people into the chain to buy products,
and it worked.
What we saw in both cases was a positive consumer response countering a
negative response - the overwhelming responses were to purchase products,
sending a very strong message in support of the executives to exercise their
free speech. As we wrote in the fore mentioned articles, being an executive in
a company does not preclude one from exercising their free speech rights, nor
should it be expected of anyone.
In both responses, the counter-protesting consumers
purchasing products were well mannered and upbeat. Contrast that with the
Occupy Wall Street movement which had massive protests that were, putting it
mildly, less than clean. All politics aside, the lesson here is positive
movements such as buying at Chick-fil-A and Whole Foods have a more positive
result in both the public eye and the to the businesses addressed.
In order for boycotts to be effective, there must be a
reasonably attainable goal. A boycott can ask a company to not carry a single
non-essential product, but you cannot, for example, expect a fast-food
hamburger chain to stop selling beef. Nor is it reasonable to expect any
corporate executive to not express views some people may not like.
Both of these boycott cases shared one objective, shutting
down freedom of speech where it did not agree with the protesters. These
boycotts inherently failed because protests and boycotts are not going to
change the political or religious outlook of anyone. If anything, the boycotts
which started without even a single phone call to discuss the situation or an
end-goal would just strengthen the resolve of the people whose free speech is
The real result for both cases was that both chains brought
in new customers who have never tried either store, and thus now the stores
have new customers. Considering the vast number of new customers at Chick-fil-A
and the publicity the company received, there is no question the company will
have increased sales for a long time to come. The boycott against Chick-fil-A
was therefore not only a failure, but it actually helped the company beyond
anyone's wildest dreams.