To Buy or Not To Buy

Outside of an uber vehicle in Berlin. Photo credit: Alper Cugun on Flickr

It is not uncommon for consumers to disagree with or feel offended by controversial statements or actions by certain companies, but why do we continue to support these brands that have disappointed and sometimes even disrespected us?

It may be because the company’s product has added value to consumers and made an impact on their lifestyle.

“If people like the food or product they’ll want to keep buying the product, it depends on what they’re offering. People forget overtime, or the company resolves the image,” said consumer behavior expert Elizabeth Goldsmith.

There are various CEOs that have had to go to great lengths to resolve their company’s image due to statements they made about their controversial opinions concerning social and political issues.

Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy was labeled anti-LGBTQ in 2012 after statements he made on same-sex marriage came to light.

“I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude that thinks we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about,” Cathy said on a radio show in 2012.

It is commonly known that Chick-fil-A is more of a traditional and orthodox religious corporation. Their “closed on Sundays” rule is one that warrants admiration, but also some resentment from those of us that might have the occasional craving for chicken nuggets or a sandwich on a Sunday afternoon.

Many seemed to be more in support of Cathy’s 2011 statement, in which Cathy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “while my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that Chick-fil-A’s sales, “soared 12 percent, to $4.6 billion.”

More recently, it was revealed in 2016 that Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was joining Trump’s business advisory board. Shortly after, Trump signed an executive board on his first immigration ban that included many countries such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and other nations that happened to have high Muslim populations.

Many consumers took Kalanick’s involvement on the business advisory board to mean he supported Trump and the controversial ban, and users quickly created the #DeleteUber trend on social media.    

To placate Uber customers, Kalanick released a statement saying that the company would identify and compensate Uber drivers affected by the ban.

This ban will impact many innocent people—an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.

However, this was after the #DeleteUber trend had spread to so many users that they were forced to create a way for users to delete their own accounts.

More than 200,000 users deleted their Uber accounts, but Uber still had a net revenue of over six billion dollars in 2016, according to

Although Cathy’s statements on same-sex marriage and Kalanick’s involvement with Trump were upsetting, these instances don’t compare with the tense relationships between Black women and beauty products.

Shea Moisture is a company founded by black women that creates beauty products with natural ingredients for black hair, and other skin and face products.

They received a lot of backlash for changing their demographic to include women of all different hair textures. To go along with this new audience, they cast a promotional video for their new “Everybody Gets Love” campaign featuring women with loosely curled or straight hair textures and light skin tones.

Social media was flooded with posts from black women who said they felt abandoned by this new “gentrified” Shea Moisture.

The advertisement was quickly pulled from television and online causing Shea Moisture to issue an apology, stating that the ad was a mistake and did not convey their message correctly.

“Please know that our intention was not -and would never be- to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate.”

Dove and Nivea have also both been accused of having racially insensitive ads, the most recent allegation being about an ad Nivea launched in West Africa for their Natural Fairness Body Lotion which acts as a skin lightener. According to the website, the lotion affects the skin of the user by, “reducing the production of melanin within the skin. While the actives added to the formula are known to inhibit melanin producing enzymes, the sunscreens inhibit further damage to the skin and reduce excess melanin production.”

This ad proved offensive to many, especially black women who felt that the company is perpetuating the idea that lighter or fairer skin is better than darker skin.

Nivea can still be found on the shelves at your local retail locations.

Florida A&M University biochemistry student Jada Timley says that the support of these brands is only due to necessity or convenience, and she only bases her decisions off the quality of the brand’s goods.

“Regardless of what they said or did, if you have good products, I’m gonna buy your products.”

Apparently it’ll take a lot more than backing Trump, or airing a few racist ads to lose consumer support.