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Charlotte Talks Politics: How Shopping And Politics End Up In The Same Cart

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Instagram / @RealDonaldTrump

Monday, July 27, 2020

Can companies mix business with politics -- without losing customers? It's a tough act to pull off in our hyper-politicized climate. 

Food maker Goya stirred the pot when its CEO, Robert Unanue, stood beside the president this month and said, “We’re all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump,” prompting a boycott of Goya.

The Trump stamp can be found on plenty of recent consumer activism. The president had barely settled into the White House when Nordstrom was targeted by the left and right over Ivanka Trump’s products.

Trump himself has fanned anger against brands, such as Nike over its relationship with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

It might seem as if the blending of politics and what you buy is a modern trend, but historian Lawrence Glickman says it’s really “as American as apple pie.” And rather than shying away from the current focus on race and law enforcement, many brands are taking public stands on the side of demonstrators. 

Marketing professor Americus Reed told The New York Times "they're taking a stand, hopefully, because it's moral, but also because they understand the long-term economic game."

GUESTS

Lawrence Glickman, Cornell University, professor of American studies, author of “Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America" (@LarryGlickman)

Americus Reed, II, Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, professor of marketing  (@amreed2)

A veteran of Charlotte radio news, Chris joined the "Charlotte Talks" staff in January 2016, but has been listening to WFAE since discovering the station as a high schooler.