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The Experience Brands Weekly #200

Political brands

As long as you haven’t been completely ignoring the news, you’ll know that the US midterms took place earlier this week. As politics gets ever more polarised, we’re seeing more brands getting political, but should they be? This week we look at what brands got up to during the US midterms and whether brands should take the risk of getting political.

During the mid-terms lots of brands were encouraging people to vote. Modcloth and The North Face did shutdowns to encourage people to vote, while there were limited edition pro-voting T-Shirts from luxury brands Tory Burch, Prabal Gurung and Carbon38 who donated the proceeds to organisations like Rock the Vote who try and get young and disaffected people voting. Rachel Comey went beyond limited editions to discounts offering 24-hour discounts in-store and online – 10% for having voted, 20% if you took a new voter along to the polls and 30% for voting in a swing district. Levi’s even played host to voter-registration booths – 40 across its stores.

While many stuck to just getting behind voting, others took it a step further. As well as putting information on candidates and polling station locations on its website, Patagonia got behind the Democrats explicitly. This sort of explicit political stance is not without risks, but as Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia says “If you're not pissing off 50% of the people, you're not trying hard enough.” While taking a political stance will undeniably alienate lots of potential buyers, would they be the sort of people who would buy from your brand anyway? A strong stance might win you more loyalty amongst your target audience. 78% of US consumers feel that companies should address the issues facing us (Global Strategy Group, 2016). 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs (Cone Communications, 2017). We are increasingly belief-driven consumers who expect brands to play their part in the issues facing us. While supporting a specific political party may be too risky for many, getting behind voting in general seems to create rewards – Canvas38 got an increase in traffic to their website from taking a pro-voting stance. Many brands won’t get fully political, but finding issues that are right for your brand to get behind and taking a stand could help you win them over.


Other bites:

Pages of the Sea

This Sunday hundreds of people up and down the country will be gathering on beaches to mark the centenary of the end of World War One. Put together by Danny Boyle, artists will be creating large scale portraits of casualties from the war on the sand as the sea goes out a low tide, that will be gradually washed away as the tide comes in.



Beyond the Deepening Shadow

Created by the same artist who made the cascade of poppies to mark the start of the First World War at the Tower of London, the institution is marking the end of the war with an installation made up of thousands of individual flames lit by hand each evening, accompanied by a specially-commissioned sound installation.


Selfridges The Bowl

Taking their in-store experience to the next level, Selfridges have built a skate bowl allowing you to skate high above Oxford Street. They have collaborated with leading skaters to create something for all levels – from 1:2:1 lessons with the pros to open sessions for more experienced skaters – you can book your slot here.