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Corporate Support for “Black Lives Matter” Gets Mixed Reviews

Many companies that might typically avoid conflict and political positioning are now taking a public stand on racial injustice and police violence. In addition to public messages from leaders denouncing such behaviors, corporate America is increasingly incorporating progressive ideology surrounding these issues, and even the specific concept of “Black Lives Matter” into social media messaging and overall branding.

Companies like Nike, Twitter, Citigroup, WarnerMedia, Netflix, Ben & Jerry’s, Nordstrom, and YouTube all have aligned themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement. While advertising historically avoids sensitive issues like politics, violence, and drugs, many companies are making the calculated decision to align corporate values with what the public cares about in an attempt to build and sustain brand loyalty and connection and generally stand for what they feel is right. However, many of these companies are facing criticism for historical inaction and apparent hypocrisy related to taking a moral position; critics argue, “too little too late.”

Other companies are taking a middle ground, more cautious approach. Target, which is based in Minneapolis, referenced “a community in pain” but not the word “black.” Starbucks issues a public letter which encouraged “courageous conversations.”