M&M’s is turning some strange backlash over the footwear choices of their animated mascots into opportunity. Earlier this week, the brand announced it ditched its now-divisive spokescandies in favor of actress Maya Rudolph, who is already making some changes to the famous treat. M&M’s decision appears to show it bowing to backlash for being too “woke” (but for the record, the authors of this article suspect it’s a stunt). Still, Straight Arrow News has the companies that are instead embracing the nation’s divide in this week’s Five for Friday.
#5: Black Rifle Coffee Company
In certain circles, owning the libs is a winning business strategy. Black Rifle Coffee Company is a veteran-founded java maker that became the darling of conservatives for being pro-gun, pro-military and pro-police. Black Rifle Coffee offers products like Freedom Fuel and AK-47 Espresso. Its Instagram presence is enough to siphon even the strongest of liberal tears. But, after its logo was worn by the likes of Jan. 6 rioters, the company’s founder took issue with groups that “hijacked” its imagery.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became an incredibly polarizing figure for kneeling during the national anthem prior to games in protest of racial injustice. Many of the same folks who thought female M&Ms can’t wear sneakers took issue with his activism and he was eventually run out of the league. But just a few years later, Nike embraced Kaepernick, featuring him in billboards and television ads with the slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” It didn’t sit well with everyone, even prompting some former customers to burn their Nike products in effigy.
#3: Goya Foods
It may seem strange that making donations to U.S. food banks as part of the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative could cause controversy. But Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue is special in that regard. During a 2020 event at the White House, he said the nation was “truly blessed” to have former President Donald Trump as its leader. Liberals ended up calling for a boycott of Goya Foods, claiming Trump’s rhetoric had been anti-Latino. This prompted Trump supporters to embrace the brand, rushing to stores to buy up Goya products. In fact, the company’s sales jumped 22% in the weeks that followed.
Patagonia is 100% a self-proclaimed tree-hugging company. At the forefront of embracing sustainability, Patagonia even released a Black Friday ad once that told people not to buy one of its products in a commentary about consumerism. In 2020, the company took all of that one step further. The company put a tag on a pair of shorts that said, “Vote the assholes out.” Apparently Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard had been using the phrase for years about “politicians from any party who deny or disregard the climate crisis.”
#1: Hobby Lobby
There are pages of Hobby Lobby controversy, from illegally procuring biblical artifacts to opening a museum that features fake Dead Sea scrolls. But it really embraced the divide when it sued the U.S. government to deny contraceptive coverage to employees on religious grounds. It won that fight in the Supreme Court. Then, at the height of the pandemic, Hobby Lobby refused to close its doors as the nation entered lockdowns, with its owner David Green telling employees he did so after receiving a message from God. Crafting really took off during the pandemic, so in the end Hobby Lobby might have been essential to some people.