Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Will the Revolution Be Branded?

The revolution may not be televised, but somebody may just try to brand it. This week the ice cream maker known as Ben & Jerry's issued a statement of solidarity in support of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS)movement. It's not too surprising. Ben & Jerry's is no stranger to issues of corporate social responsibility and social justice. Despite the fact that the Vermont-based dairy company was sold (or maybe "sold out," depending on your point of view) to the multinational corporation, Unilever, they still manage to serve up some delicious, all-around wholesome ice cream. Ben & Jerry's inspiring mission statement and philanthropy (like the 1% for peace it used to proclaim on its product containers) goes down the gullet like an extra scoop of goodness. 

If that sounds a little too sugar coated, it's probably because it is, just a little. Ben & Jerry's is after all part of a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate. Yet even though the Unilever label has lent a less-than-transparent veil to the company (particularly regarding the disparity between the CEO's salary and workers' wages) Ben & Jerry's as a company by itself is still probably a lot better than most

While its recent statement of support for OWS fits squarely with the values Ben & Jerry's has expressed over the years, I wonder if somebody won't try to do them one better. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see something like "Stomp on Wall Street" sneakers from some company like Nike hitting the streets sometime in the future, it would be unlikely to gain much traction since the revolution by its nature will not be branded. I'm ninety nine percent sure of it.

Related post: Voice of the People

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