June 24, 2019
The Only Test Of Brand Purpose
The message from Cannes this year is very clear. Every brand in the world is now trying to woke-wash itself to appear more acceptable to socially conscious consumers. Much of it is cynical bullshit.
The key to understanding which companies are truly doing the right thing, and which ones are using token "brand purpose" as a PR gimmick is very easy. There is only one conclusive touchstone to knowing who is truly committed to social welfare and who is a cynical poseur...
To what lengths do they go to avoid paying taxes?
The most serious attempts to create a better society are substantially funded by tax dollars: education; affordable housing; civil and personal rights; job training; infrastructure; health care. Companies who take unusual and excessive measures to pay little or no taxes are depriving our citizens of the tools we need to improve our societies.
The hitching of a brand purpose initiative to a politically fashionable cause while behind the scenes going to great lengths to avoid paying a fair share of taxes is a deplorable and cynical manipulation of public perceptions.
The fact that these tax gimmicks may be technically legal does not impress me one bit. It is perfectly legal for me not to support charitable causes, but as a responsible citizen I choose to be better than the law requires.
As far as I'm concerned, corporations who use advertising and marketing dollars to pound their chests about their trendy brand purpose cause-du-jour, but employ legions of lawyers to avoid the true cost of improving society are nothing but scum.