How do ESG & Corporate Equality Index (CEI) force Fortune 500s to woke marketing strategies? Big brands are taking big risks and taking huge blows. Billions of dollars in market value can be vaporized in a week. What’s happening in marketing?
Are American corporate brands now prioritizing political ideology over profit margins? Do Fortune 500s truly care that much about the LGBTQ community? What will shareholders say?
Or are the shareholders playing a whole different role this time? Are they pushing woke marketing strategies to get their brands ranked higher on the Corporate Equality Index or CEI?
We’ve seen Adidas recently lose $770 million in Yeezy sales. Like that wasn’t enough, the brand campaigns their swimsuit Pride 2023 collection for trans women ‘starring’ a man, risking tremendous backlash again.
Next, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, went all in on woke marketing with Bud Light featuring transgender Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud’s ROI? A significant sales plummet and over $5 billion backlash! Next, the brand goes right after it again and expands its efforts.
We have seen a severe backlash from American consumers to the ‘Satanic‘ Pride collection shaking Target’s market value by over $9 billion.
And recently, Google renewed its partnership with the World Health Organization, ‘awarding’ the WHO over $320 million in Google Search Advertising through its Ad Grants program, with an additional $50 million set for 2023.
These brands suddenly no longer seem to care about their customers, brand loyalty, or that sales and market cap will drop.
Why are big brands suddenly going rogue and woke? What is the ROI of woke marketing? What can we expect from CMOs in the near future?
We investigated it all for you. You will not believe some of the things we’ve found. I had to dig deep too. Why?
Because during my last series of marketing keynotes, the first question in the Q&A was always: “Can you share your vision on the ROI of woke marketing strategies?”
To be able to answer these questions in the best possible ways – our research team used algorithms and AI to go the extra mile.
Warning: You might discover a different kind of marketing ROI today…
But first, some examples. What and who are we talking about, exactly?
Do You Remember The Nike & NFL Player Colin Kaepernick Controversy?
The buzz around Nike and NFL player Colin Kaepernick began in 2016. Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began his national anthem protest in August 2016 when he knelt during the national anthem.
It was Kaepernick as a way to spotlight social injustice, particularly police brutality against African Americans. This decision sparked intense controversy throughout the country and has since spawned numerous other protests during the national anthem at NFL games.
Nike has stood by Colin Kaepernick, and in September 2018, featured him in an ad campaign with the slogan “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Some praised the ad, while others called for a boycott of the company. The debate surrounding Kaepernick and Nike continues to this day.
Nike’s Marketing ROI?
Nike’s stock price rose 6% following the launch of the Colin Kaepernick campaign, breaking the brand’s all-time high in the process. This surge in stock price is likely due to the publicity generated by the advert and the associated discussion about Nike’s commitment to social justice and equality in the workplace.
Additionally, following the launch, Nike’s online sales in the United States surged by 31%, with an even bigger increase in “brand-focused searches” on Google. Apparel sales rose over 40%.
Are Adidas, Bud Light, Target, and Google looking for the Nike effect?
Adidas Yeezy Breakup Followed by the Pride 2023 Swimsuit Backlash
The Yeezy split has been financially devastating for both Adidas and Kanye West. Although, we’ve found many speculations about the losses. Forbes recently claimed that Adidas projects a $771 million loss in 2023 after cutting ties with Ye.
Other media have reported that Adidas struggles with $1.3 billion in unsold Yeezy stock. So, where are Adidas and Ye today? Well, Adidas is reportedly going to begin selling Yeezy sneakers again.
Did Adidas learn its lessons about the ROI of woke marketing?
The Adidas Pride 2023 Swimwear Collection Controversy
One might think that a little bit of empathy and compassion would be part of the DNA of a CMO. One might think that social and emotional intelligence should be part of C-level skills.
But Adidas seems oblivious to the current sentiment around the male swimmer William aka “Lia” Thomas. Thomas was an average swimmer in the male division but is winning all prizes swimming against ‘women by design.’
Beyond that, we have seen the locker room backlash. Why is a male swimmer stealing prizes with unfair advantages also forcing his entry into the female domain? Many women and men resisted yet another government-controlled push.
Lia Thomas is now going after feminists who refuse to conform to this Trans agenda. Thomas has accused the feminists of pushing “Transfobic beliefs.”
In the middle of all this “swimming” anger and controversy, and still, in the middle of the Yeezy breakup, Adidas seems eager to play Russian roulette again.
Less Is Not More For Adidas. The Brand Seems To Stick To Its Slogan: Impossible is Nothing.
The controversy around the Adidas Pride 2023 bathing suit collection explained? In its campaign, the Adidas’ Pride 2023 collection features a male model wearing a one-piece swimsuit, which sparked controversy in the LGBTQ community for seemingly promoting gender norms.
Many viewed challenging conventional gender presentations and roles as crucial to the celebration and understanding of pride in the LGBTQ community. This controversy suggested that Adidas failed to recognize the importance of inclusivity and inadvertently elevated traditional, gendered expectations.
Is Adidas having a Bud Light moment? A man in the bathing suit? Right after the Yeezy disaster? Get woke, go broke?
Or is there more to explore? Are big brands looking for trouble for another reason?
Why are Fortune 500s suddenly committing commercial suicide? Or do they need to score points on another ranking system?
Bud Light’s Woke Marketing ROI? A $5 Billion Market Value Drop. “Cheers, Dylan Mulvaney!”
Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brand Bud Light is yet another brand that jumped the woke marketing bandwagon – completely misunderstanding its customers’ current state of mind. Why Dylan Mulvaney again?
There is a fear of the indoctrination of children. Fresh fear. The sovereignty of parents is being stripped away. People are indoctrinated and bombarded with this Transgender push every single day.
Why do brands feel the need to rip open these fresh wounds? Have you ever heard of timing and momentum?
Bud Light saw its sales drop significantly, and it lost $5 billion in market value. But Bud doesn’t seem to back off. It looks like they are going all in with the upcoming Pride 2023.
Do these CMOs have no street smartness or sensing capabilities? Don’t you feel what’s cooking in society? Don’t you understand that people are fed up with lies, corruption, propaganda, and censoring?
Why jump on the woke bandwagon? Is it blind ideology? Do CMOs want to win the WEF Woke Trophy of the Year?
InBev is surprised that it is taking so long: the plummeting sales. Who said it was temporary? What don’t you understand about trust?
Trust takes time to heal. And sometimes, trust is broken for life –and the relationship is over.
The strange thing with Bud Light? Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud’s VP of Marketing since June 2022, ‘has taken’ a sudden leave of absence.
Heinerscheid seemed pretty passionate about Bud’s Mulvaney campaign. Now, the former VP of Marketing might identify as unemployed.
So, what are CMOs supposed to do?
Go woke, go broke?
Go woke, get fired?
Don’t go woke, get fired?
Or are CMOs being forced to go woke because of pressure from above? Their largest shareholders, for example. Should I mention BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street?
Why else are so many brands risking backlash and major financial blows?
Another remarkable discovery?
The CEO of Budweiser, Brendan Whitworth worked at the CIA in the past.
Is it a coincidence?
Check out the LinkedIn profile of Whitworth and scroll to 2001 – 2005.
It is probably too far out to further explore this ‘coincidence.’ Or isn’t it?
We have seen Klaus Schwab bragging loud about WEF penetrating the cabinets.
We have seen the CIA and FBI infiltrating the worlds of business and politics.
But let’s first have a look at Target.
The Backlash to ‘Satanic’ Pride Collection Shakes Target’s Market Cap by $9 Billion
If you want to understand the power of the Target Boycott, you must see for yourself what Target is promoting. I look at it from a marketing perspective, so ratio above emotions.
It’s like a Volcano erupting. PATS BOOM. Target loses over $9 Billion in the week following boycott calls over LGBTQ-friendly kids’ clothing.
It’s important to know that Target currently operates over 1,800 retail stores across the United States. Its broad target audience includes all ages and income levels, from millennials to retirees.
Protesters told Target it has nothing to do with a rainbow Pride display. People say it has everything to do with 1. the glorification of Satanism again and 2. the aggressive and explicit sexualization of children.
Parents who are fighting to keep sovereignty over their own children. Target was built upon families with young children.
So Target, don’t you understand that these parents, also the foundation of your success, feel betrayed by you? Satanic merchandising for kids? Why?
How far are you willing to push your luck?
Now, Target is pulling some LGBTQ merchandise from stores that it rolled out for Pride Month after confrontations with customers. In reaction, a group of pro-LGBTQ fanatics next threatened to attack or blow up several Target stores.
The pullback comes as far-right social media accounts, including Libs of TikTok and Gays Against Groomers, whip up anti-LGBTQ sentiment against corporations celebrating Pride Month.
“The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic for brands,” tweeted one activist. “Target deserves the Bud Light treatment. We will work to put the pressure on them.”
LGBTQ groups condemned Target for bowing to pressure from “fringe” groups.
King of Propaganda & Censoring BBC Recently Launched Verify. A New Label To Counter Fake News
I kid you not. I am talking about being delusional and in denial. BBC, the deep state-owned propaganda station, recently launched a show to tackle ‘dangerous misinformation‘ and fake news. The comments were genuinely hilarious.
BBC hired a popular TikTokker to host the show. From investigative to data-driven journalism, I find it remarkable and shameless that the BBC blows its own horn like this. Especially the timing is awkward.
BBC News has unveiled BBC Verify, a brand aiming to build audience trust by showing how its journalists know what they are reporting is true.
The BBC says Verify will be “a team of investigative journalists, a brand, and also a physical area in the BBC newsroom in London.” Take a look at Verify here.
The main question many people have asked out loud is: Should the BBC go over what’s disinformation or not? A Deep State-owned station?
Is the BBC our company of trust to investigate ‘right-wing’ conspiracy theories? Does BBC plan to leave left-wing conspiracy theories uninvestigated? Or does it stay the BBC – with the B from Biased or Bribed?
Or has the BBC proven to be a source of manipulation and misinformation?
Who is going to verify the BBC’s version of the truth?
Have you been able to see the BBC Tate interview yet?
I am not a big Andrew Tate fan. Sure, I have noticed him saying smart and courageous things. But I don’t like his continuous bragging about Bling and Bugattis.
I laugh at his false claims: I’m one of the world’s most influential men. Uh, no. In likes, yes, maybe. But that’s like being rich in at Monopol. Uh, the board game…
Truly influential men are And if you did? Why not be humble?
Isn’t it time to separate the men from the boys? Time to grow up and level up, Tate? Are Joe Rogan or Russell Brand bragging about their bling? No. They don’t need that!
However, this interview by the BBC? It’s one of the most framing, dishonest, and disgusting forms of ‘journalism’ I have seen lately. I am glad Tate exposed them.
The interviewer, Lucy Williamson? Will probably identify as ‘unemployed soon.’
I also think the interview proves that BBC News Verify will never ever succeed.
Big Tech Giant Google and WHO Announce $320 Million Multi-Year Collaboration Agreement.
As part of the partnership, Google noted it had “awarded” the WHO over $320 million in Google Search advertising through its Ad Grants program, with an additional $50 million set for 2023.
The new multi-year agreement will see the WHO “continue providing credible health-related information to help billions of people around the world respond to emerging and future public health issues,” a statement from Google said.
The companies first began collaborating in 2018 before greatly expanding efforts following COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic by the international health body.
Google’s statement outlined how users are searching for “trustworthy information on various health conditions and symptoms” for issues ranging from the common cold to anxiety.
“Working closely with WHO, we’ll soon expand to cover more conditions such as COPD, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Mpox, Ebola, depressive disorder, malaria, and more,” the company said.
Google announced it was providing another $50 million in advertising to the WHO for 2023 to “support (the organization) in continuing their impactful work in public health.”
So, where many have labeled the WHO as a ‘dangerous organization’ spreading misinformation and manipulation, Google extends its partnership with that same WHO.
Guess why truth seekers switched from Google to DuckDuckGo. Guess why so many speaking the truth have switched from YouTube to platforms like Rumble, Ghost, or Substack.
Moving beyond big tech and fans on lease is the way to protect our freedom of speech and our freedom.
More background info on the deal on RebelNews.
Why Are Big Brands and Fortune500s Supporting WEF, WHO, and The Woke Narrative?
When we start to connect the dots, it suddenly starts to make sense. Why are we all of a sudden seeing this huge amount of wokeness in these big brands and Fortune500s?
Have you ever looked up the list of big brands that are actively sponsoring Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum? Why would so many big brands support the WEF – the unelected club of the evil elite?
Look at the long list of WEF Partners, ranked from A to Z. Starring companies such as Accenture, Adobe, Amazon, BlackRock, The Coca-Cola Company, TikTok, Visa, Volkswagen Group, and many consulting firms.
Also, read or watch: WEF Partners with Obama to Activate Secret Gov’t Censorship Executive Order.
How deeply do WEF and WHO actually influence our daily media consumption?
Look what else we discovered…
The Corporate Equality Index or CEI: The Reason Why Big Brands Embrace Woke Marketing?
Why are Fortune500s suddenly committing this commercial and financial suicide? Did you think about it? How important is virtue signaling for brands?
CEOs and CMOs see their customers boycotting them; they see their sales plummeting, and they notice their market caps dropping. Still, these big brands go right after it again, taking even bigger risks. Why? It doesn’t seem to make sense.
We had to drill and investigate deep to get to the core. I asked 50+ friends in marketing and media for insights. But I found out why they’re doing this.
CEOs and CMOs are not afraid of consumers leaving or boycotting their brands. They are not afraid of consumers. They are not afraid of the brand losing its reputation.
No. They are scared of a much bigger thing—a thing that is personal to them and their corporate careers. Let me explain.
Woke big brands all have large shareholders, like BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard. At stake is their Corporate Equality Index — or CEI — score, which the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ political lobbying group in the world, oversees.
HRC, issues report cards for America’s biggest corporations via the CEI: awarding or subtracting points for how well companies adhere to what HRC calls its “major rating criteria.”
Businesses that attain the maximum 100 points on the CEI earn the title “Best Place To Work For LGBTQ Equality.” According to HRC data, fifteen of the top 20 Fortune-ranked companies received 100% ratings last year.
More than 840 US companies racked up high CEI scores, according to the latest report.
The HRC, formed in 1980 and started the CEI in 2002, is led by Kelley Robinson, who was named president in 2022 and worked as a political organizer for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
HRC sends representatives to corporations every year, telling them what they have to make visible at the company. HRC gives the brands a list of demands, and if the brands don’t follow through, they won’t keep their CEI score.
Another part of wokeness on the work floor and work-related manipulations? Consequently, if big brands do not support their CEI, their C-suite will not be reelected by their shareholders.
WEF partners, like BlackRock, embrace this ESG orthodoxy in how they apply pressure to top corporate management teams and boards. DEI is a joke at these firms.
CMOs or other O’s who refuse to join the wokeness? They will be radically erased – because they f*ck up the CEI ranking and perfect score.
C-level will lose its executive compensation and bonuses and will not be re-appointed to boards. Woke agendas have no way out.
In 2018, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who oversees assets worth $8.6 trillion and is called the “face of ESG,” wrote a now-infamous letter to CEOs titled “A Sense of Purpose” that pushed a “new model of governance” in line with ESG values.
In the below interview (2017), Fink explains: “At BlackRock, we are forcing behaviors. You have to force behaviors ….. You have to force change.”
Watch this 1-minute video:
It’s not that all CMOs prefer to add wokeness to their marketing and branding. It’s just that BlackRock (and other) shareholders will force ESG, DEI, and CEI ideologies upon them.
One could go a few layers deeper and ask: “So, CMOs comply in order to keep their corporate jobs and careers?”
But even if a CMO complies with wokeness, he or she can still lose the job. Look at Alissa Heinerscheid, former VP of Marketing at Bud Light. She complied to go woke, and she next disappeared.
Most of us might have empathy enough to forgive woke brands. But too many brands keep crossing the lines of norms and values. Let’s be honest. Parents warned you many times: Stay away from young children!
Governments and now brands constantly undermine the sovereignty of parents. That’s why these parents are so angry. It’s forced upon them at a rapid pace. Parents are panicking. This will not end well!
How far are big brands and CMOs willing to take their woke marketing strategies? They seem programmed by the woke narrative fanatic when it comes to securing their own careers.
Facing marketing backlash and losing customers? Market value meltdown? Those are lower-ranked priorities. Failing to rank high on the CEI is the real fear.
Who are behind the Corporate Equality Index? Why do the same names keep popping up all the time?
The Corporate Equality Index = Human Rights Campaign + Open Society Foundations + George Soros
This woke CEI meter is essentially set up by a nonprofit organization called the Human Rights Campaign, which has lobbied millions and millions of dollars into Congress to try and pack all of these woke different types of acts.
Guess what? George Soros funds the Open Society Foundations. You can read about Soros’ role here.
So if you take the time to investigate for yourself, if you go beyond the narrative of WEF, WHO, mainstream media, and the big tech mafia syndicate? You might find that conspiracy theories are again true.
Do you now better understand why we’re seeing this huge amount of marketing wokeness at so many big corporate brands and Fortune500s?
This is how far the global elites are willing to take it: First, workers got fired for not being vaccinated. Now, CMOs will be fired for not going woke. Or for going too woke.
Would BlackRock and Fink also have a Morals, Ethics, and Values Index? Would that not be the purpose-driven leadership the world needs so badly?
Joining the boycotts against these woke and WEF-supporting brands? It might be your only option to protect your values, free future, and children.
Can you live your life of freedom without brands like i.e., Adidas, BBC, Bud Light, Balenciaga, Disney, Google, and Target?
Oh, and let’s not forget the fresh backlash at The North Face. The Summer of Pride campaign of the outdoor brand is under fire.
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I don’t care about money. Misfits are all about recognition — and freedom of speech is what we must protect! The same goes for protecting our children!
Don’t expect free speech or facts from state-owned and bribed media. Or from publishers who depend on (woke) advertisers.
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About the Author
In the spotlights, Igor Beuker is a top marketing innovation keynote speaker and futurist known for his foresight on trends and technologies that impact business, economy, and society. Behind the scenes, a serial entrepreneur with 5 exits and an angel investor in 24 social startups. Board member at next-level media firms, changemaker at Rolling Stone Culture Council, Hollywood sci-fi think tank pioneer, award-winning marketing strategist for Amazon, L’Oréal, Nike, and a seer for Fortune 500s, cities, and countries.