#BoycottHersheys goes viral on Twitter via the Women’s Day campaign

New York (CNN) Boycott calls Hershey Spread on Twitter in response to the chocolate company International Women’s Day Canadian campaign featuring a trans woman.

It is the latest example of a brand generating a strong but mixed reaction to a promotional campaign that touches on cultural or societal issues.

Fae Johnstone, a queer, trans, and feminist activist, posted about her inclusion in the Her for She campaign in a thread of tweets on Wednesday.

“It means a lot to be included, as a young transgender woman,” Johnston wrote. “I grew up with a few transgender role models. Not many transgender youth have ever met an adult. I hope this campaign shows trans girls that they can dream big and change the world too.”

Johnston’s posts were met with praise and support, but also anger at Hershey, many of which included anti-trans rhetoric. On Thursday, some used the hashtag #BoycottHersheys to voice their opposition to the campaign — while others used it to slam critics.

“We value teamwork and we value the strength that diversity creates,” Hershey told CNN about the reaction to the campaign. “For the past three years, Women’s History Month programs have been an inclusive celebration of women and their impact. We appreciate the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts.”

It’s not unusual for companies to experience a backlash over moves customers see as politically charged.

Nike was a target for Boycott campaign When you are Colin Kaepernick appeared in the 2018 adafter the footballer became a polarizing figure for kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality.

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More recently, right-wing critics have dubbed M&M’s “wake-ups” after the candy brand introduced a new female “talker” and Put it on M&M packages As part of a marketing campaign.

Brands are often aligned with certain values ​​as a way to attract customers, especially younger ones. But this tactic can also annoy others who don’t agree with the brand’s messaging.

For this campaign, Hershey selected five women, including Johnston, who are active in their fields.

Kélicia Massala and Rita Audi focus on gender equality, Naila Moloo is a climate technology researcher, and Autumn Peltier is an Indigenous rights and water activist, according to Hershey’s Her for She website. Each woman talks about herself and her work in a series of videos posted on the page. The campaign also includes limited edition chocolate bars with special packaging.

While it is dangerous for brands to get involved in the political fray, it can pay off.

A 2018 survey showed that among people aged 35-44, 52% of respondents They were in favor of Nike using Kaepernick in her trade. the following year, Nike won an Emmy for its Kaepernick commercial. And Nike hasn’t been hurt financially by the decision — the company’s stock has risen nearly 80% since 2018.

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