Politics

It’s Really Shitty to Capitalize Off of the Muslim Ban

There are better ways to boost your brand.
January 30, 2017, 5:48pm

It was the subtweet heard round the world. On Saturday, January 28, Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, tweeted the following in response to Trump's Muslim ban: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada." While some questioned Trudeau's intentions and commitment to the cause, others would use his comment as a way to forward their own brands.

One of the first was Norm Kelly, a Toronto city councillor perhaps best known for his annoyingly large Twitter presence and for referring to himself as "6dad." Kelly's profile was notably elevated after his beef with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill in 2015, and since then, he (or his nephew, depending on if you believe the conspiracy behind Norm's Twitter) can be seen sounding off on just about anything that will get him more followers.

Though Norm later pointed out in a follow-up tweet that proceeds of the "I'm moving to Canada" sweater would be going toward "a charity assisting refugees," like most of what Norm (or his nephew) does on Twitter, it still served to attract attention to him.

While Norm's intentions can at least be construed as nuanced, this Canadian vodka brand's motives are considerably more shaky. With the message of "Proud to be Canadian today. #welcometocanada #lovetrumpshate" and throwing extra money behind this Facebook post (it's listed as "sponsored") to increase exposure, this is pretty nasty (and not in a good way).

Some people were understandably outraged at an alcohol brand using the plight of those targeted by Trump's anti-immigration policies to forward their brand, prompting a response by Nütrl: "To all who have written with good constructive criticism of our direction, position and content…and to those who are threatening, swearing, yelling and straight up hate what we are doing… Thanks for sharing your opinions." Lol OK.

And then there's this jewelry company: "Diversity is our strength… #proudtobecanadian #welcometocanada #hewillnotdivideus #sageandsoul." Yes, because thread, beads, and little maple leaf charms are going to do anything to help refugees.

Canadians aren't the only ones making an attempt to benefit off of the devastating state of America's politics. Notably, Uber managed to piss off just about everyone who isn't a Trump supporter between its CEO's relationship to the new American president and disrupting the taxi protest at JFK airport in New York City by dropping its surge pricing during the action.

Other big brands, such as Starbucks, have taken their anti-Muslim ban stances public—the multi-billion-dollar coffee chain pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in response to Trump's policy. While this is a meaningful promise, it cannot be denied that moves like this also serve to boost a company's brand. In these troubling times, it's undeniably important to take a stand for what you believe in, but if you're going to do so, it's best to do it with tact.

Follow Allison Tierney on Twitter .