In today’s world, the lines between citizens and consumers, beliefs and brands, are blurring. Companies today are expected to align with their values in word and deed. So you get brands like Pepsi overreaching and botching its attempt to relate to the activist subset with its disastrous spot last year featuring Kendall Jenner. You also see brands like Dove lambasted for its tone-deaf ad featuring women of color and its misguided attempt to sell its products in bottles nominally shaped like different women’s bodies, and McDonald’s criticized for exploiting a son’s grief over losing his father.
Whether they like it or not, brands are increasingly political, and their marketing efforts increasingly will be seen through a political lens. Add in social media–where everything is fair game–and, boom, a company’s decisions now belong to everyone.