Perfomative Activism

Daniel Han
June 24, 2021

Can activism be bought? Throughout the year, companies seize opportunities to use that time of year to make relevant marketing decisions. As social justice continues to go mainstream, companies have increasingly used these social movements to sell their products or services. Some brands have taken part in social activism, radically changing their messaging or brand ethos to improve an increasingly skeptical consumer sentiment. With June being Pride month, many brands’ marketing efforts are focused towards Pride and the LGBTQI+ movement. 

Marketing with Pride month in mind is no issue. However, there is often a disconnect between a company’s action and words, when the company claims to support one cause while acting against that same cause in other contexts. This disconnect is called performative activism, and it’s everywhere this month. Let’s take a look at Disney, for example. The following is a tweet Disney put out on June 1st of this year: