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Does Supporting a Cause Hurt Your Business?

02/07/2014
Michigan Creative

Today I came across an awesome viral ad for Burger King. In San Francisco for Pride Week, Burger King added a new burger to their menu, the Proud Whopper. Every customer, of every orientation, looked so baffled by the new addition and would repeatedly ask, “What’s different about it?” Eventually when unwrapping their burger and tasting it, they come across a note that says, “We Are All The Same On The Inside.” It is such a powerful and true message and in a place like San Francisco, during Pride Week none-the-less, you’d expect to see very little negative backlash.

 

As much as I agree with where Burger King, and other companies who have shown amazing support to the LGBT community stand on this issue, it reminded me of something I was told when I was working in the service industry. The first thing I was taught was to never discuss religion or politics with customers, as they are such hot button issues, that can easily turn business away. I began to wonder exactly how dipping into social issues would affect revenue, and until Burger King does some adequate post-testing on this campaign, many of my questions will remain unanswered.  I would love to know what you guys think:

Does taking political sides have a positive effect that outweighs the business it turns away?

As a business, would it be smarter to not voice your opinion on such issues?

With a “successful business,” such as Burger King, should you not worry about how one campaign affects revenue and just stand up for what you believe is right and try to initiate change?

I feel like in the long run, it comes down to what your business is and who your target market is, when trying to come to a conclusion on any of the questions posed above. But, as somebody who is fascinated with advertising research and strategy, I couldn’t help but mention it!

Josh