What is 'Woke Politics'? Nike and Coca-Cola back BLM to 'distract from their hypocritical failings', says ad

The ad by conservative-leaning watchdog Consumers' Research attacked Nike, Coca Cola and American Airlines for being 'political'

                            What is 'Woke Politics'? Nike and Coca-Cola back BLM to 'distract from their hypocritical failings', says ad
Nike, Coca-Cola and American Airlines slammed for using 'woke politics' (Getty Images)

Nike, American Airlines and Coca-Cola have been slammed in a new conservative ad for using 'woke politics' and support of BLM to 'distract from their hypocritical failings'. The ad by conservative-leaning research watchdog Consumers' Research attacked Nike for being 'political.' The ads mention former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who was hired by Nike as a model after leading protests against police brutality, and taking a knee during the National Anthem before games. 

The ad also attacks CEO of Nike, saying, "John Donahoe, Nike, stop exploiting foreign labor." Further, it accuses the company of using "forced labor in China. Religious minorities were ripped from their families, sterilized, sold to factories. Nike made shoes in those same areas." The ad notes, "Congress tried to ban Nike's labor practices. Nike fought back with highly-paid lobbyists."


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What is 'Woke Politics'?

According to Merriam Webster, 'woke' suggests a "self-aware" narrative "questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better". The term 'woke politics' has been associated with issues of justice and it gained huge momentum in 2014 with the Black Lives Matter movement, as a definitive label to urge for vigilance and activism, questioning racial inequalities and other disparities of society, including the apparent discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, women, immigrants and other marginalized populations.

With the term gaining momentum, 'stay woke' has also received its fair share of criticism. FiveThirtyEight's Perry Bacon Jr writes, "But in culture and politics today, the most prominent uses of “woke” are as a pejorative — Republicans attacking Democrats, more centrist Democrats attacking more liberal ones and supporters of the British monarchy using the term to criticize people more sympathetic to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Those critical of so-called woke ideas and people often invoke the idea that they are being “canceled” or a victim of “cancel culture.”"

The video titled 'Cover' attacks the 'woke politics' of various companies to indicate that they have been misusing the campaigns. Will Hild, the executive director of the Washington DC-based firm, states that they have observed that "increasingly, businesses were cozying up to woke politicians". The advert also targets American Airlines and asks why the legroom for consumers was decreased, but the company went ahead and participated in a campaign against Texas voting laws.

A United Airlines plane takes off above American Airlines planes on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. United Airlines and American Airlines are set to start furloughing 32,000 employees today after negotiations for a new coronavirus aid package failed in Washington. (Getty Images)

The ad takes a jab, stating, "Why is CEO Doug Parker trying to appease the radical Left? To distract." It also attacks Coca-Cola for speaking on political issues. "Coca-Cola is getting political," the voice-over announces. "Attacking Georgia's popular voting laws. Why? To distract from years of dismal sales and terrible 2020 results." It says, "James Quincey, Coca-Cola, stop poisoning our children. Serve your customers, not woke politicians." 

Speaking more on the agenda of the Consumers' Research ad campaign, journalist Eamon Javers said in a tweet thread, "The campaign is designed to force companies to reconsider political stances. Ads will run on CNBC, FOXBusiness, and local stations. The nonprofit group Consumers’ Research will not disclose who is financing the campaign."

And adds, "The ads Criticize American Airlines CEO Doug Parker for his high pay at time of layoffs and taxpayer bailouts for the industry. Will target Coca Cola CEO James Quincey over obesity in America and criticize Nike CEO John Donohoe over allegations of forced labor in China."


Social media users shared their opinion on the advertisement. A user noted, "This is weird because it sounds like a set up for an argument advocating for social justice in capitalism (CEOs make too much, must get paid less or taxed higher! We should tax soda higher because it contributes to the obesity epidemic! Boycott China for human right’s abuses!)." Another user stated, "Conservatives criticizing “woke” corporations by adopting leftist talking points to raise serious issues that deserve attention, but doing it in a manner that says “we actually don’t give a shit, we’re doing it for retribution.” Not very well thought out..."




Coca-Cola responded to the issue, saying, "We respect everyone's right to raise their concerns and express their views, but we also believe the best way to make progress now is for us all to come together to listen, respectfully share concerns and collaborate on a path forward," Fox Business reported.

American Airlines defended their action in a statement, "As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote."

Nike hasn't responded to the advert yet.

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