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Consumers’ Research ads accuse Nike, American Airlines and Coca Cola of putting ‘wokeness’ first


Nike, American Airlines and Coca-Cola have been accused of putting ‘woke politicians’ ahead of their customers.

The three companies were targeted in a $1million ad campaign by Consumers’ Research, a nearly 100-year-old conservative-leaning watchdog.   

The 30-second Nike advert, entitled with Cover, begins with a picture of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and describes Nike as ‘constantly political.’

Kaepernick led protests against police brutality, taking a knee for the National Anthem before games. He was then hired by Nike as a model.

‘Nike is constantly political. Why? Cover,’ the ad asks.

Consumers’ Research on Tuesday unveiled a new $1 million-plus advertising campaign

The advert accused Nike of using forced labor in China, citing a March 2020 Congress report

The advert accused Nike of using forced labor in China, citing a March 2020 Congress report

Nike was accused of failing their customers, having put 'woke politicians' first

Nike was accused of failing their customers, having put ‘woke politicians’ first

‘Congressional reports suspect Nike used forced labor in China. Religious minorities were ripped from their families, sterilized, sold to factories. Nike made shoes in those same areas.

‘Congress tried to ban Nike’s labor practices. Nike fought back with highly-paid lobbyists.’

The advert then called out John Donahoe, the 61-year-old CEO of Nike.

‘John Donahoe, Nike, stop exploiting foreign labor,’ they conclude.

‘Serve your customers, not woke politicians.’

Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, a Washington DC-based ‘dark money’ firm, told The Washington Examiner on Tuesday that his group has a 91-year history of standing up for consumers, and that the ad campaign came about because they saw that ‘increasingly, businesses were cozying up to woke politicians’ as cover and distraction for failures in their own businesses. 

Their advert attacking American Airlines accuses the company of shrinking legroom and demanding that passengers show ID to board flights, yet joining a campaign against Texas voting laws.

Texas, like Georgia, is currently attempting to usher in new rules that supporters say will make elections safer, while opponents say they will disenfranchise minorities by demanding voters present ID.

‘America requires passengers to show ID to fly, but attacks Texas’s popular voter ID law,’ a voice-over is heard in a clip entitled The Worst.

The advert attacking American Airlines was entitled The Worst

The advert attacking American Airlines was entitled The Worst

American Airlines was urged to prioritize customers, not 'woke politicians'

American Airlines was urged to prioritize customers, not ‘woke politicians’

‘Why is CEO Doug Parker trying to appease the radical Left? To distract.’

In their third clip, named Busted, the company criticized Coca-Cola – which has its headquarters in Atlanta – for speaking out against Georgia’s voting law.

‘Coca-Cola is getting political,’ the voice-over said.

‘Attacking Georgia’s popular voting laws. Why? To distract from years of dismal sales and terrible 2020 results.’

They said Coca-Cola was ‘poisoning America’s youth and worsening the obesity crisis.’

Coca-Cola was accused of 'poisoning our children' in the new advert

Coca-Cola was accused of ‘poisoning our children’ in the new advert

The CEO of Coca-Cola, like the CEOs of Nike and American Airlines, was called out personally

The CEO of Coca-Cola, like the CEOs of Nike and American Airlines, was called out personally

The Atlanta-based company was told that they should put more energy into their customers

The Atlanta-based company was told that they should put more energy into their customers

They also attacked the CEO, James Quincey.

‘James Quincey, Coca-Cola, stop poisoning our children. Serve your customers, not woke politicians.’

Hild said that the ads will run on cable channels.

And he said the campaign, which is costing more than $1 million, is just Consumers’ Research’s opening salvo in its battle against corporate activism.

‘This is phase one. We’re putting these three companies on notice that consumers have had it, and they need to focus on serving their consumers and not woke politicians,’ he said.

‘Phase two: this is certainly not a unique phenomenon, and we’re going to put all corporate America on notice that this isn’t going to work anymore.’

The companies have defended their actions, and Coca-Cola said that Consumers’ Research is presenting an inaccurate picture.

Coca-Cola pointed out that they had ‘taken steps to help people reduce the amount of sugar they consume’, and denied using forced labor.

The company said it respects ‘human rights everywhere’ it operates and has ‘strict policies prohibiting forced labor’ in its business and with its suppliers.

‘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,’ Coca-Cola told Fox Business in a statement.

‘We remain open to productive conversations with groups who may have differing views.’

American Airlines defended their stance against the new voter laws, particularly in Texas, and referenced an April 1 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,’ American Airlines said.

‘Voting is the hallmark of our democracy, and is the foundation of our great country.’

Nike has not commented on the adverts. 

What are ‘dark money’ groups?

The CAP was founded in 2003 by Podesta

The CAP was founded in 2003 by Podesta

Both Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of profiting from ‘dark money’ – making their opponents seem shadowy and untrustworthy.

‘Dark money’ literally means money which is not declared.

According to Open Secrets, which attempts to shed light on it, the term ‘refers to political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown.’ 

Dark money only came into existence in 2010, with the Citizens United ruling, which effectively ended the rules by which all political donations had to be registered. 

Since then an estimated $1 billion has been spent by dark money groups — mainly on television and online ads and mailers. 

Some of the best-known dark money groups are the NRA, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the Heritage Foundation and the American Bankers’ Association.  

Washington’s leading liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, was founded in 2003 by John Podesta, Bill Clinton‘s chief of staff and a counselor to Barack Obama

CAP has had outsize influence on Democratic policies for years. The group had close ties with the Barack Obama administration, helping with both policies and personnel, according to media reports.  

A 2005 proposal from CAP foreshadowed Obama’s Affordable Care Act. 

Planned Parenthood is a healthcare non-profit-making group that was founded in 1942 and traces its beginnings to the birth control movement and the opening of the first birth control clinic in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York.

The group is now the largest single provider of abortion in the US.

In 2019, Planned Parenthood pulled out of the federal family planning program rather than abide by a Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions.

That was despite about a third of its funding – amounting to about $16.2 million in 2019 – coming form the federal government.

NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was established in 1909 in response to violence against black people in America.

Today, it is the largest civil rights organization in the country with more than two million activists.

Media Matters for America was founded by conservative-turned-liberal activist David Brock in 2004. 

It describes its role as ‘monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media’.

Both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund are environmental advocacy groups. 



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