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Five Brands That Are Doing Political Good [CASE STUDY]
These brands are adopting political transparency – and it is proving popular with students.
Emily Harrison

More than ever, young people are aware of the ethical repercussions of the choices they make in their lives. It influences their big decisions – like who they want to be employed by – and their day-to-day decisions, such as where they should choose to purchase their goods and services from.

Brands are increasingly responding to this.

We’ve pooled together five big brands who are making a global difference and are particularly popular with students.

1. Ben & Jerry’s on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia

Ben & Jerry’s are no strangers to political activism. The brand has done countless campaigns over the years, and most recently, has decided to tackle the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia. They have emphasised their point through boldly banning two scoops of the same flavour being sold together in Australia as of May 2017. And if one scoop of cookie dough is not enough? Well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

The 26 stores across the country have been kitted out with a post box and disgruntled customers are encouraged to send a postcard to their MP to urge them to make the change.

2. Airbnb on providing free housing

Airbnb made a pledge to house 100,000 refugees and provide free short term housing for them. In June 2017, the company launched a platform called Open Homes, which allows anyone to sign up and host a displaced person or a person in need. Currently there are over 6,000 free listings that are predominantly based in the US and Europe and around half of these are from users that previously were not Airbnb users.

3. Pret A Manger on helping the homeless

Pret A Manger dedicates a lot of their efforts to helping the homeless. The sandwiches, you may have noticed, don’t display a sell-by date. This is because 95% of the stores give their leftovers to homeless charities at the end of each day through the Pret Charity Run.

They also offer a Rising Stars Program, a movement that aims to rehabilitate ex-offenders and the homeless through training opportunities in Pret A Manger stores. Over two thirds of participants go on to become full-time employees of the brand.

4. Starbucks on helping refugees

In response to Trump suspending America’s refugee programme and temporarily banning citizens from several Muslim majority countries, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees across the world in the next five years. 2,500 of these will be in Europe and afterwards refugees will make up 8% of the European workforce.

When this was initially announced back in January, Trump supporters took to Twitter to express their disapproval and #BoycottStarbucks was temporarily trending. Nevertheless, the company is storming ahead and remaining true to their political stance.

5. Lush on animal testing

Lush has built a lot of their brand upon their political stances concerning animal rights – and they have no problem with making their customers feel uncomfortable! In their 2012 Lush Fighting Animal Testing campaign, a young actress was dragged through the streets of London to the Regent Street store where she was placed in the window on a bench, like a laboratory animal, and “experimented on” in the full view of horror-struck shoppers.

This year Lush celebrated the anniversary of their Charity Pot body lotion. All proceeds go to charities working in animal or human rights and it has made a staggering total of twenty million pounds.

All of these companies have utilised their brand voice to make a difference. By being more transparent about their stance on political and social issues, students have the chance to choose what causes to support through their day-to-day spending. From speaking to our campus media students, it’s often reported that they have more respect for a brand that operates in this way because they know their money is not simply going into the pocket of the CEO!

We expect to see much more cross over between consumerism and political activism in the future as more and more brands respond to this trend.

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