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Big Orange Slide

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I’ll have a chicken sandwich and a side of dogma

August 28, 2012 by Randy Stein

Illustration by Julia Morra

A few weeks ago, the CEO of fast-food chain “Chick-fil-A” came out in an interview and stated his position on “traditional” marriage – essentially stating his disapproval of same-sex marriage. Needless to say, this ignited a firestorm of controversy resulting in both sides of the “same-sex marriage” debate vocally taking sides. Those in favour of same-sex marriage were quick to call for boycotts of the fast-food chain. Those in agreement with the CEO’s position were quick to mobilize as well – calling for people to come out and support the chain – whether they’re usual customers or not. My guess would be, sadly, that business is probably up for Chick-fil–A although I have no idea if that’s the case or not.

Now, yes, the United States is increasingly a country of extreme viewpoints, but is the politicization of brands an inevitable outcome? How much longer before The CEO of McDonald’s is questioned about his stance on Abortion? And how long before someone asks the CEO of the GAP about their views on Natural Selection? Will consumers soon be requesting the political views of a company’s  leader before they make their purchase decisions? How long before changerooms ring with the refrain “these pants look great on me but I’ll pass because their CEO is a Republican.”

All this to say, is this really necessary? On one hand, it’d be nice to sit down to a meal without having to Google the social and political leanings of the Board of Directors before I order. On the other hand, I don’t really want to put money into the pocket of someone whose views I find repugnant.

It’s a complex question with no simple answers. Personally, I suspect that ignorance is bliss when it comes to the politicization of brands. And as for Chick-fil-A, well, I’m a KFC guy anyway.

2 Comments on "I’ll have a chicken sandwich and a side of dogma"

  • Kathy H.
    September 4, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

    Ignorance is certainly bliss, although I wonder if we are reaching a time when it is also a luxury.

    This Chick-fil-A kerfuffle aside for a moment, it is becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that a (relatively) small number of companies own most of the products and services we interact with. It’s also becoming harder to ignore some of the big challenges and debates we face in our community – economic instability, abortion, natural selection, climate change, it goes on.

    So I think it’s natural that consumers are looking to support the “good guys” any way they can – or at least be seen doing so from their social circle’s perspective.

    I predict this is just the beginning, and that we will see bigger brands caught up in a similar tangle very soon.

  • Trev Gourley
    November 15, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    And now pizza joins the fray of right wing conservatism:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-internets-f

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