Why would any business ever think it’s a good idea to get political? Even if they take a public stance on an issue with clear majority support, they’re still likely to cost themselves some of their customers. Target’s $15 billion in stock losses since taking a public stance on the transgender bathroom “debate” should be exhibit A.
The American Family Association recommended Target introduce gender-neutral bathrooms to accommodate their transgender patrons, rather than letting them use the bathroom corresponding to their chosen “gender identity.”
Target refused — and over 1.4 million signed a petition from the AFA to boycott their stores, leading to massive losses. It would’ve only cost Target $20 million to build gender-neutral restrooms in all their stores — a drop in the bucket to what their political stance ended up costing them.
The latest company to shoot themselves in the foot in taking a stance was USAA, and they quickly learned that taking the advice of Media Matters is a losing strategy. The insurance company — primarily serving military families — decided to cease advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program following pressure from a boycott campaign begun by Media Matters. They issued a bizarre defense that the move was because they don’t advertise on opinion shows, despite already advertising on MSNBC. They later showed some consistency and announced that they’d stopped advertising on MSNBC, too.
@biddergalore Thank you for reaching out to us. USAA advertises on news programs, but advertising on opinion shows is not in accordance with our policy.
— USAA (@USAA_help) May 25, 2017
@KVolt95 We are no longer advertising in relation to Hannity. Thank you!— USAA (@USAA_help) May 25, 2017
Why would a company that caters to military families cease advertising on the show of someone as pro-military as Hannity, especially given his pro-military audience? Someone wasn’t thinking clearly, and USAA has just reversed their decision after facing immense backlash.
According to the Associated Press:
USAA is reinstating its advertising on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel program after receiving heavy criticism for its initial decision from many of the military members and veterans that it serves.
The company said Tuesday it will also start advertising again on other programs where it had suspended ads, including “Hardball” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, and Jake Tapper’s “The Lead” on CNN.
USAA said it wasn’t trying to favor one set of political views over another.
“We heard concerns from many members who watch and listen to these programs,” USAA said in a statement on Tuesday. “Our goal in advertising has always been to reach members of the military community who would benefit from USAA’s well-known commitment to service. Today, the lines between news and editorial are increasingly blurred.”
The advertising is returning while the company reviews its policy about avoiding the opinion shows.
Think USAA learned its lesson?