Not mentioned in the spot, funded by the non-profit Consumers’ Research in Washington, DC, provoked Coca-Cola’s censure: CEO James Quincey’s harsh criticism of Georgia’s new electoral law, which was passed by Republicans this spring.
The campaign represents a new front in the aftermath of the election overhaul, which sparked countless reporting, boycott threats and uninterrupted fodder for both parties during the election campaign. While Democrats, including President Joe Biden, vilified Republicans for introducing “Jim Crow 2.0”, the GOP has rallied around the threat of the “demolition culture” and the “awakened mob”.
DiscoverGeorgia’s corporate landscape: business incentives, political struggles
In the past few months, right-wing Consumers’ Research has made a multi-million dollar push to name and shame several large corporations that recently spoke out against major conservative priorities.
Will Hild, the organization’s executive director, said his group is impartial and does not advocate any particular approach to suffrage. But it tries to send a message that companies should clean up their own actions rather than focus on “awakened” political causes.
“They have this phenomenon of companies that have real problems, they have problems with how they treat their customers, and they have decided to distract from it by getting into those problems and going down,” Hild said in an interview . “We’ll make them known.”
The group has aired television commercials targeting American Airlines who opposed the electoral law of Texas Republicans, Nike and Major League Baseball, which moved their all-star game from Cobb County in April in response to Georgia’s electoral law .
For Coca-Cola, Consumers’ Research – which refuses to disclose its donors – hired two trucks last month to drive mobile billboards around Coke’s Atlanta headquarters and the Georgia Capitol. She created a website with links to news outlets and nonprofits, including several from the left political spectrum, that have published critical reports on Coke’s business practices. And there was a second, 30-second ad that was dark in appearance and tone, similar to a campaign ad that named Quincey for attacking Georgia’s electoral law.
While Georgia and across the country have shown many ads blasting the MLB, the one from Consumers’ Research is a novelty not only to directly attack Coke, a major economic and political force in Georgia, but also to address issues how to highlight work and health that would traditionally resonate with those left of center.
DiscoverGeorgia Republicans are hooking up on the All-Star Game backlash
Wesley Longhofer, a professor at Emory’s Goizueta Business School who focuses on the interface between business and society, said some organizations like Greenpeace have succeeded with provocative advertisements to force big changes in businesses. They did this by compiling compelling evidence and working with companies to clean up their supply chains, he said.
“But when you’re too antagonistic it’s easy for a company to either ignore you or play defense,” he said. “It’s usually less effective than getting companies to participate in the changes you are asking for.”
For its part, Coca-Cola said it respects “the right of every individual to voice their concerns and express their views”.
“But we also believe that the best way to make progress now is for us all to come together to listen, respectfully share concerns, and work together on a path forward,” the company said in a written statement . “We remain open to productive discussions with groups who may have different views.”
Coke also defended its human rights policy, highlighting its efforts to reduce added sugar in many of its products.
Consumers’ Research traces its roots back nearly a century and says its mission is “to improve knowledge and understanding of topics, policies, products and services that matter to consumers and to promote freedom on.” to act on the basis of that knowledge and understanding “. Over the past decade, the group has made a name for itself by drafting legal briefs that aid Republican attorneys general.