Boycotts are (still) for idiots

I stand by what I said not so recently: Boycotts are for idiots. By which I mean, when a given company does something amazingly stupid— as was the case recently with Gillette’s merry little idea of virtue signaling as a marketing campaign— it is the epitome of stupid to attempt to convince people to avoid giving said company money because you disagree with how they run their business. Most especially if you’ve never been a customer of said company. Namely, as you’re preaching to the choir no matter what side of a given issue you happen to be on.

Boycott the NRA! Because guns are scary and you don’t own any. Anti-boycott the NRA, because boycotters are idiots. Swell. What have folk on both sides of the issue accomplished? Zip. Those who hate the NRA because reasons are going to continue to not give them money. Those who do not, if anything, will probably give them more money, briefly. Net result: Basically nothing.

The market, at least when free of government manipulation, will sort these issues out all on its own. Gillette thought it would be fun to lay a big, steaming log on the vast majority of their customer base. That was, to put it mildly, unwise, and everyone responsible for doing so should by every right be fired. Not because they’re a bunch of SJW morons who couldn’t find a clue with a map, but because they’ve failed to do their jobs, which is to successfully market their products and generate revenue for the company. When said company is already up a creek in a very competitive market, doing anything of the sort illustrates a total disconnect with said market, and a complete failure of management.

Personally, I don’t really use Gillette products, short of the odd can of shaving foam and disposable razor when I’m traveling. I prefer to shave with a safety razor, real blades and quality lather. And as Gillette has seen fit to insult me, I will happily vote with my dollars and buy products not made by Procter & Gamble henceforth, on those rare occasions I need something that’s going to be left in a hotel trash can. But I’m not about to shriek from the rooftops about how one should boycott everything they make— Gillette has already done this, and as a result there’s little need for me to do so.

The real story here is not that Gillette has seen fit to commit marketing seppuku, but rather the fairly shocking revelation that a major corporation entrusted by its shareholders to generate revenue has a massive case of management rot that allowed it to happen in the first place. Marketing mis-steps are nothing new. The business equivalent of rolling a case of explosives into your factory and dancing on the ashes kind of is.

Corporate appeasement has been a trend for decades. McDonalds, and pretty much every other fast food brand, have over the last few decades played with appeasing the health nuts who never eat there with salads and apple slices and all manner of other nonsense— however there’s one critical difference: McDonalds didn’t stop selling Big Macs, and they didn’t release a marketing campaign calling everyone who eats them a fat, useless simpleton. This is likely due to the fact that McDonalds is run by adults who ran the numbers and concluded it was an insignificant expense to dabble in this junk to shut the shriekers up to some degree, so long as the food people actually want to stuff in their face holes keeps pouring out of their well oiled money machine.

GM, Ford, and basically every other auto maker have cranked out utterly useless econobox and electric nonsense that effectively no one wants to buy (in large part to appease government shrieking in the same vein), but they didn’t stop cranking out Corvettes, stupid-fast Mustangs and wildly popular huge-margin pickup trucks. Because they are a business whose responsibility is to make products people want.

Gillette, however, didn’t just crank up a new product line for hipsters— they pulled a Cartman and for reasons entirely inexplicable to anyone with a lick of business sense, have very likely destroyed their core business.

I don’t really care if Gillette wants to go full retard. In fact, I welcome it. Any time a large corporation wants to put up a flag with “short our stock and make some quick money”, fine by me. However, I sure wouldn’t want to be on the company side of their next shareholder meeting. Or, for that matter, the stockholder side.

posted by Mr. Lion | 01/16/19 @ 17:03 | comments (0)