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AdAge Is Tracking Brands’ Responses to Protests

As we enter the second week of protests across the country, brands are speaking up — to mixed effect.

By now, a divisive tragedy, outrage or debate dominating the news cycle is nothing new to Americans, and brands have had plenty of opportunities to work out their marketing strategies during such events. Still, the ongoing protests that arose in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer present a marketing minefield for brands, especially as protestors on social media condemn those who remain silent, effectively removing the only safe strategy most brands had to avoid angering factions of their consumers. 

Franchise brands are in a particularly tricky position given their dual identity as locally owned businesses and national or international brands. Public sentiment is largely in favor of protecting local businesses, but too many consumers don’t know that franchise businesses are locally owned, and statements issued by brands run the risk of appearing to commercialize a tragedy or co-opt a movement. 

For any franchisor who wants to see how statements and marketing from other brands have been received during the protests, AdAge published a particularly valuable resource on Wednesday. A regularly updating list of statements from brands offers a primer on how the marketing world at large is responding to protests.

McDonald’s, for instance, released a one-minute video on social media that lists the names of black people killed by police officers. “They were all one of us,” reads the next card. The spot  concludes by announcing the franchise will be donating an unspecified amount to the National Urban League and the NAACP.

Read the full article at to learn how other brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Target, Starbucks, Spotify, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and many more are speaking up.