Maybe the lessons of the Bud Light disaster are starting to sink in.
In a sign that American investors aren’t happy with the “go woke, go broke” ideas taking hold in too many corporate offices, Coca-Cola Co. shareholders last week soundly rejected three proposals pushed by leftist activists to push the company further into leftist causes.
And while Coca-Cola is hardly a paragon of conservative positions, the votes could well mean that even liberal-leaning corporations are seeing the costs to their bottom lines.
The vote generating most of the headlines nationally dealt with a proposal to study how individual states’ pro-life laws affect the company’s business — and potentially make decisions about “closure or expansion of operations” based on access to abortion.
When they saw what Dylan Mulvaney did to Budweiser Light, they backed off ~ ~ Coca-Cola shareholders vote down proposal that targets pro-life states https://t.co/9AZiZ4wPJJ pic.twitter.com/lvjckqiYoA
— Mary (@matjendav4) May 2, 2023
It was defeated by nearly 87 percent of controlling shares, according to the proxy vote.
(Company votes aren’t based on a “one-person, one vote” as in an election, but on the percentage of shares that are owned by the voter.)
Another proposal, which demanded Coca-Cola audit itself to determine how its “corporate policies, practices, products, and services” affect non-whites, went down by a vote of just over 83 percent of controlling shares.
Would you boycott Coca-Cola if they had passed these proposals?
Yes: 97% (137 Votes)
No: 3% (4 Votes)
Redolent of the “social justice” rhetoric that has become the go-to language of the left — even in corporate filings — the proposal all but accused Coke of racism against its customers, in its workforce and in its executive-level personnel decision.
The shareholder vote wasn’t buying it.
A third proposal demanded a study of Coca-Cola’s political contributions to see if they aligned with the company’s stated values — and even dragged the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion into the argument.
“Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Coca-Cola stated, ‘We are all stunned by the unlawful and violent events that unfolded in Washington, D.C.,’ and declared a pause in political giving of unknown duration. Yet Coke subsequently donated to federal lawmakers who opposed creating a Congressional January 6th investigation,” the proposal stated.
That was the closest of the controlling shareholders’ vote — but was still defeated by a resounding 70.9 percent.
As Bud Light’s disastrous partnership with the deeply disturbed transgender celebrity Dylan Mulvaney has proven, there is plenty of downside for companies that decide to wade into divisive political and social issues that have nothing to do with their product.
Bud Light, its parent Anheuser-Busch, and Anheuser-Busch’s parent, InBev, are businesses that exist to make money for their shareholders — not social service organizations aimed at promoting a particular agenda.
The marketing disaster Bud Light inflicted on itself — thanks to a vice president’s decision that the brand’s image was too “fratty” for her liking, apparently — should be providing a lesson to all American companies that they’re in business to serve all Americans — not just coastal liberals who enjoy pretending that human bodies at birth are only a suggestion of actual “gender,” and that objective reality is no more than a matter of opinion.
(“He created them male and female” is far and away the mostly richly fundamental statement of human existence ever put into words, but it’s not something you’ll hear much in Manhattan and Malibu.)
Coca-Cola executives are certainly no strangers to espousing leftist causes.
I haven’t had a coke since they went woke 😕!!!
— Jimster (@Penjane2022) May 2, 2023
The Atlanta-based company stepped into the 2021 fight over Georgia’s election reform law to prove its progressive bona fides and ended up hurting its own business without affecting the law.
When it comes to abortion, the board of directors’ statement on the proposal bragged about the company’s benefits package that includes travel reimbursement for employees or those on their plan who need to leave a state to obtain a medical procedure that is not available at home.
But even an unabashedly liberal company is apparently learning that there are limits to how far a business should go in alienating customers just to prove its ideological purity.
Remember how nice it was when companies just sold you their products instead of trying to shove their political beliefs and social indoctrinations down your throat?
— 🌵Saguaro Murph🌵 (@SaguaroMurph) May 2, 2023
The Coca-Cola shareholders’ vote might not represent a road-to-Damascus moment for corporate America, but sane Americans should take good news where they find it. Coca-Cola could have put itself squarely in the line of fire with these proposals — it chose to dodge the bullets instead.
If there’s any lesson at all businesses can learn from Bud Light, it’s that conservatives spend money, too.
Coca-Cola shareholders might have realized that.
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