For the last, oh I don’t know, since it’s been trendy, brands have been wading into the social justice cheer squad with shiny pom-poms and witty banners. Recently, they’ve been bravely pinning their rainbow flags to the mast of marriage equality in what is surely the largest no-brainer in Australian business circles since Alan Bond’s corporate fraud trial.
While it takes a monumental cynic to poo-poo any effort to support worthwhile causes, and I’m hopefully not Robinson Crusoe on the matter, I’m about to poo-poo the efforts of mainstream corporate Australia for their recent ‘support’ of today’s “oh FFS just get it done already and move on” hot-button topic.
I’m not entirely sure of the long-term strategic benefits brands get from virtue signalling, but there’s no denying it provides an amazing sugar hit for the here and now. Finding five people you are friends with on Facebook who openly said Alan Joyce should stick to keeping planes in the sky during that whole ‘Margaret Court thing’ is less likely than ruining your mahabis by stepping in unicorn poo. Why? Because backing this stuff online is an absolute, no-look slam dunk. Brands have a ready-made fan base to give them a standing ovation and anyone with a dissenting view is either ripped to shreds or smart enough to leave it the hell alone for fear of being ripped to shreds. But enough about how social media skews our political views, let’s get to the actual point.
Over the past fortnight in Australia, the ‘debate’ around marriage equality has descended/ascended into a cyclonic shit-storm of WTFs and WTAFs. I’ve got so many friends currently occupying the moral high ground on this topic that I dare not open Facebook for fear of suffering some kind of contact-high vertigo.
But where have all the brands gone?
Where are the hand-on-heart, high-horse riding crusaders and their trumpeting trumpets?
I’d love to know.
I would love to know.
If the point of getting behind social change and political driven campaigns comes from a legitimate desire to make the community/country/world a better place – surely they should be making as much noise as possible right now.
If the point of getting behind social change or politically driven campaigns is a cynical exercise in bandwagoning low-hanging fruit – surely they should also be making as much noise as possible right now.
But here’s the rub – right now, there’s no slam dunk. Even within those who are for marriage equality there are wildly varying views on how to respond to the ‘plebiscite’. Some are saying boycott, some are saying it’s illegitimate, some are challenging it in the High Court, and some are pragmatically saying ‘well, at least it’s something!’ and clapping softly for fear of offending the rest.
For a brand who was simply hanging with the popular kids online without truly considering their actions only a few months ago, it’s quite the conundrum.
If getting behind causes is a tap that you turn on and off whenever it suits you, then you probably need to question why you were throwing your hat into the ring in the first place.
Or do we have to admit that being there for the sexy bit where we all hold hands and say ‘love is love’ is a lot easier than standing by your man when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, sleeves-up boring process? Is it too much for us to expect corporate Australia to do more than us (change our profile pic for a week)?
The next few weeks/months will make all the difference.
It’s going to be interesting to see who in corporate Australia has the guts to ride along side during this part of the journey and (hopefully) get the job done.