Brands’ commitment to LGBTQ+ rights is being tested by a series of high-profile backlashes.
In the past, if a consumer was offended by a brand’s advertising they might have to write to and phone them, but now social media magnifies controversies and makes it available for all to watch unfold. Many sections of the media appear to be hungry for any “culture war” story and so swoop on any backlash emerging online, magnifying it further.
Costa Coffee was one brand recently swept up in online controversy magnified by media. A mural on the outside of its branded van featured a cartoon of a trans man, with visible mastectomy scars. #BoycottCostaCoffee trended on X (formerly known as Twitter) and a cabinet minister advised the chain to “avoid politics”. The brand stood by the mural stating it “showcases and celebrates inclusivity”.
Wickes was another brand threatened with a boycott after its CEO said anti-trans activists were “not welcome” in store.