Roe v. Wade: Should Brands Take Action on the Recent Supreme Court Decision?

September 27, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Brand-Related | CSR & Environmental | Demographics & Audiences | Youth & Gen X

Some brands have waded into the culture wars, but recent survey results suggest that both consumers and marketers are hesitant when it comes to companies taking actions regarding the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The deeply polarizing decision that has angered many is one that companies appear to want to tread very lightly around. In the latest installment [pdf] of The CMO Survey, just 8.7% of senior marketers surveyed said that their company will take public action in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Not surprisingly, more are willing to take private action, but even so, only about one-quarter (25.5%) say they will.

Notably, larger companies are more likely to take actions. Some 44.4% of respondents from companies with at least $10 billion in sales revenues said they would take private actions related to the decision, and almost one-third (29.4%) said they will take public actions. However it should be noted that the sample sizes when sorting by company size are very small, so these results may not be too robust.

Nonetheless, the results come amidst a growing inclination for marketing leaders to get involved in politically-charged issues. In this latest survey 30.2% of senior marketers said it is appropriate for their brand to take a stance on such issues, up from 18.5% in February 2020.

What about consumers? A July survey from GWI of 13,519 internet users across 11 countries found that 28% of Americans ages 16-64 believe it’s never appropriate for American companies to take a public stance on the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, compared to just 17% who feel that it’s always appropriate. Americans appeared the most hesitant of respondents across the 11 countries surveyed on this: for example, in India, one-third (33%) thought it always appropriate against only 4% who find it never appropriate.

Opinions in the US differ by age: Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to believe that it’s appropriate for companies to take a public stance making it clear whether they support or oppose the decision.

Across generations, the women’s issues action that people most want to see employers do to support employees is to offer paid leave for women’s health issues, with a majority of the Gen Z and Millennial bracket wanting this.

About the Data: The CMO Survey results are based on a survey of 273 marketers at for-profit companies, 95.6% of whom are VP-level or above.

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