Some Brands Voice Support for Abortion Access as Others Stay Quiet

Some Brands Voice Support for Abortion Access as Others Stay Quiet



Many are speaking up after remaining silent when a leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion in May suggested that such a decision was coming.

Two-year-old skin-care brand Kinship Inc. used Instagram on June 24—the day the ruling was announced—to quote from three justices’ dissent. It added, “America, we grieve with you in this moment.”

Apparel brand J.Crew weighed in the next day, writing on Instagram that the court’s decision “puts the health, independence and economic stability of all of us at risk.”

More companies have said nothing on the subject, despite the growing expectation that brands weigh in on social issues. Some of those staying quiet have, however, announced policies covering the costs of employee travel for medical services, including abortion.

Some are likely staying quiet to avoid the risk of alienating consumers over a strongly felt issue, marketing experts have said.

But others have spoken up, even before the ruling was official. That group includes

Levi Strauss

& Co., Kering’s Gucci,

Yelp Inc.,

Match Group Inc.’s

OkCupid,

Bumble Inc.

and

Unilever

PLC’s Ben & Jerry’s.

“OkCupid has proudly supported reproductive rights for years, and we’re not stopping now,” the dating service wrote on Twitter in May, after the draft opinion was leaked.

“Reproductive rights are human rights,” it tweeted after the ruling on June 24. “We have no choice but to fight!”

Other companies have also posted objections to the ruling in social media, including Unilever-owned personal-care brand Dove; makeup company Glossier Inc.; weddings brand Knot Worldwide Inc.; and Madewell, which, like J.Crew, is part of apparel retailer J.Crew Group LLC.

“We believe it is a fundamental right for women to make decisions about their own bodies and futures,” said a Dove spokesperson.

Dove and others, including J.Crew and Kinship, have signed a statement titled “Don’t Ban Equality,” which argues that restrictions on reproductive health services including abortions hinder equality and harm businesses.

Kinship posted about the decision because of the company’s values supporting gender equity and freedom, said co-founder Alison Haljun.

“This is less of Kinship trying to market ourselves, but just to be authentic to who we are and who we stand for,” Ms. Haljun said.

Sometimes brands’ commentary has been more veiled.

Luxury retail operator NMG Holding Co., which owns brands including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, used its corporate Instagram account to post about supporting female employees’ “full and equitable healthcare access” after the leak in May.

And in a post following the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the company wrote, “We Lead with Love and foster a culture of Belonging, using our Values to guide us in how we respond in times like this.”

President Biden signed an executive order on Friday that will direct agencies to protect access to abortions and the privacy of patients seeking reproductive health services. Photo: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

The post also announced a new travel benefit for employees who need to access healthcare services in other states and promised donations to unspecified “trusted organizations.”

J.Crew, which took a break from posting to Instagram Stories from June 24 until June 28, was relatively circumspect in its first Story after the hiatus. “We’re going to restart posting—with the utmost respect for what we all are experiencing and feeling,” the brand said.

J.Crew was circumspect in that post because the brand only recently began taking stances on social issues, said Derek Yarbrough, chief marketing officer of J.Crew and Madewell. It started posting in support of social issues two years ago as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the company said.

“It might be jarring for [some consumers] to see us post on a topic like this, whereas other customers expect us to post,” Mr. Yarbrough said.

J.Crew does not have a formal process for deciding whether to respond to public events and social issues but thinks about whether it can use its platform to add to the conversation, Mr. Yarbrough said. “In this case, this was directly relevant to our focus on equality for both brands,” he said.

The Knot saw an opportunity to reach millions of people by posting about Roe v. Wade, said Jenny Lewis, global chief marketing officer of the company.

Marketing departments and teams are uniquely positioned to advocate for action on such topics because they are monitoring what is sparking dialogue on social media and what customers want, she added.

“We tend to, also as marketers, have a really clear point of view on what our brand purpose is, what that north star is, how that comes to life through action and push for some of those commitments,” Ms. Lewis said.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.