Brands are breaking their silence on social media following Wednesday’s attack on Capitol Hill, condemning the acts that took place and calling for a peaceful transition of power.
Among them, Ben & Jerry’s, which has a reputation for taking a hard stand against political injustice and aligning itself with the Black Lives Matter movement, had strong words about Wednesday’s insurrection, published in an eight-tweet thread.
“We saw two Americas yesterday. In one America we saw record voter turnout driven by Black voters that resulted in the election of the first Black and first Jewish senators from the state of Georgia—our democracy at its best,” one of the tweets read. “In the second America we saw a mostly white mob, encouraged by the president, violently invade the seat of our democracy in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. It was a failed coup—our democracy in peril.”
Yesterday was not a protest—it was a riot to uphold white supremacy.— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) January 7, 2021
Ben & Jerry’s called attention to the stark difference between how police treated Black Lives Matter protestors last summer, compared to the mostly white mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. The thread closes with a call for the President’s resignation, or for Congress to enact impeachment or the 25th amendment.
Not all brands are so bold. Companies have been traditionally hesitant to speak out on political issues in fear of alienating potential customers. But as the country grows more divided, many have begun to embrace their purpose and speak out on their values.
After Wednesday’s incident, brands including UPS, Verizon, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, AT&T, American Express, Chase, Citi Group, J.P. Morgan and Boeing published statements calling for unity as America transitions to a new administration.
We call for the peaceful transition of the U.S. government. The violence in Washington, D.C. tarnishes a two-century tradition of respect for the rule of law. We look forward to engaging with President-Elect Biden and his administration to move the nation forward.— Chevron (@Chevron) January 7, 2021
A statement from our CEO Brian Moynihan pic.twitter.com/UTP6qUJMSK— Bank of America News (@BofA_News) January 6, 2021
A statement from our Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri pic.twitter.com/Qtef9dh573— American Express (@AmericanExpress) January 7, 2021
From our President and CEO David Calhoun: pic.twitter.com/keaYFva3G6— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) January 7, 2021
Joining cultural conversations can backfire for brands who are not perceived as authentic. That’s what happened to Axe, which responded to a photo posted on Twitter depicting a can of Axe body spray left among the dirt and rubble at the Capitol.
“We'd rather be lonely than with that mob. AXE condemns yesterday's acts of violence and hate at the Capitol. We believe in the democratic process and the peaceful transition of power,” the male-grooming brand responded.
The tweet was met with mixed reception, as some users praised the brand’s choice to speak out while others accused the statement of being opportunistic.
“All those years of cashing in on the lucrative 'anarchy' market, & now you're all about peaceful transition?,” one user, Dan Barker criticized the brand’s naming strategy, attaching a photo of Axe’s “Anarchy” body spray.
All those years of cashing in on the lucrative 'anarchy' market, & now you're all about peaceful transition? pic.twitter.com/AAh1Rrk0tl— dan barker (@danbarker) January 8, 2021
Headspace took a vaguer approach to referencing the events at the Capitol, also met with mixed reception on Twitter: “However you're feeling is valid. Be gentle with yourself, today and always.”
While one user responded “No. People who feel the election was rigged do not have valid feelings. Their feelings are garbage and wrong,” another argued: ““I believe what is meant by this is your feelings are valid no matter what they may be at this moment in time, it's OK to sit with them and let them wash over you, it doesn't mean we have to act on them.”
No. People who feel the election was rigged do not have valid feelings. Their feelings are garbage and wrong.— Muncie McNamara (@MuncieMcNamara) January 8, 2021
Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of the world’s largest companies aiming to improve the U.S. economy through public policy released its own statement following Wednesday’s events.
Business Roundtable Statement: pic.twitter.com/QipzYdyJjh— Business Roundtable (@BizRoundtable) January 6, 2021
The association has also continuously retweeted individual statements posted by companies and CEOs on its Twitter account.
Since the riots took place on Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s Twitter suspension has been lifted and he has announced he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, breaking a longstanding tradition.
Other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch have continued to take disciplinary action against the president, citing violations of terms of service.