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Kowtowing to the left won’t save ‘Woke’ corporations

If you watch television advertising for any length of time, it immediately becomes clear that corporations aren’t just selling cars, phones and food — they’re also selling a woke vision of America, one that is profoundly at odds with the majority of the country.

American corporations are increasingly operating under the false impression that to survive in the marketplace, they must kowtow to the woke mob. Market researchers and PR executives, most of whom are ensconced in major city hubs and progressive strongholds, encourage this behavior, reflecting their own biases.

As a result, we’ve seen an explosion in so-called “corporate social responsibility,” environmental, social and governance investing, corporate support for controversial social causes and even partisan politics. The title of one CNN article summed it up best: “Like it or not, ‘woke’ Corporate America is here to stay.”

Unfortunately for PR departments, that is not, in fact, what most American consumers want.

Just look at how such strategies have backfired for corporations from Nike to the MLB. A Morning Consult poll found Nike’s woke Colin Kaepernick ad campaign in 2018 lost them favor with every key demographic, including Democrats, millennials, Gen Z and Black Americans. The brand’s overall favorability dropped a total of 34 points among consumers. Gillette’s controversial toxic masculinity ad in 2019 debuted on YouTube with a four-to-one-dislike-to-like ratio. And ratings for this year’s MLB All-Star Game, after it was moved from Atlanta, were the second-lowest in history.

Numbers don’t lie. It’s very clear that most American consumers oppose the vision of woke America being peddled by these corporations. As a business owner and staunch defender of traditional American values, I can say without hesitation that I don’t like it, either. But instead of complaining, I decided to respond in the most American way I know — by competing. After all, the way to fight a bad idea is with a good one.

Some companies like me, We the People Wine, unapologetically believe in American exceptionalism, free markets, free people, free speech and limited government. And we donate a portion of our profits to conservative causes. We believe Americans are hungry (and we hope thirsty) to do business with companies that proudly promote America’s founding principles.

Banking on this has already paid off. We recently launched our wine brand with a patriotic video featuring Ronald Reagan extolling the virtues that made America great. It immediately went viral, quickly racking up more than 15 million views and driving so much traffic to our homepage that it crashed.

So, to those who say the only way to successfully stay in business these days is to bend to woke ideology, I say think again. Our brand launch taught us that conservative and middle-Americans as much as anyone want to know their hard-earned money is going to a company that genuinely respects them and their values. A conservative influencer recently summed up the sentiment: “I’m going to buy a bottle of that wine because … I know that they support my values … I don’t care what you’re selling, I want to give you my business.”

Conservatives are, frankly, fed up with a deck increasingly stacked against them, with the mainstream media, big tech, Hollywood, universities, sports leagues, the federal government and even large corporations overwhelmingly supporting the left’s anti-American agenda.

And there’s a clear opportunity for companies to fill the void in the marketplace created by companies that have cast their lot with the left. After all, market research shows 52% of conservatives think brands should also take political action.

Giving in to the left-wing mob is a fool’s errand and the corporations that play this game are deluding themselves if they believe it buys them protection from the anti-business policies being pushed by the Democrats. As a Wall Street Journal story notes, “The Democratic Party has moved to the left of a 79-year-old socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a wave of like-minded younger progressives become louder and more influential, pushing higher corporate taxes and, in some cases, the breakup of big corporations.”

Far-left woke ideology is supported by only a small fraction of the country. And it’s not doing corporations any favors. It’s not increasing profits and, in many cases, has driven cohorts of conservative-leaning consumers away.

It is time for corporate America to wake up from its woke nightmare. It is much better to be true to who you are and what you do than to help advance a political agenda that is detrimental to the free-market economy that not only built America but also made possible your company’s very existence.

Ryan Coyne is the founder and CEO of We the People Wine. He wrote this for

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