In any other universe than the one we are living in today, any company, especially a major one like Coca-Cola, would be thrilled to have one of their products prominently used by the President of the United States. Donald Trump is renowned for his copious consumption of diet Coke. He even had a button installed in his desk in the Oval Office to order a can of the beverage delivered to him on command.
We have seen other well-known companies rapidly distance themselves from Trump, his family, or his followers when their brand became associated with hateful or vulgar images.
Remember Donald Trump, Jr. using the candy Skittles to demonstrate how it was dangerous to allow foreigners into our country.
The parent company Mars International immediately struck back.
— Mars, Incorporated (@MarsGlobal) September 20, 2016
Then there was Donald Trump’s reference to using Tic Tacs in the now infamous Hollywood Access tape.
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. Don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Tic Tac USA quickly sent out the following statement.
Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.
— Tic Tac USA (@TicTacUSA) October 8, 2016
Next came Charlottesville and the latest product to come under fire. The white supremacist, neo-Nazis, and their sympathizers decided to hold a march protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee wearing their khaki pants and carrying Tiki torches. Yep, those scary Tiki torches that most people use to light up their outdoor patios.
As reported by CNN News, the CEO of the parent company of Tiki Brands said the company’s staff “was ‘saddened’ and ‘appalled’ that the torches were ‘used by people who promote bigotry and hatred.'”
Now each of these three products was directly associated with either bigotry, misogyny, or hatred or all three. And the companies rapidly distanced themselves and their products from this poison. But is the fact that Donald Trump drinks diet Coke sufficient reason to boycott the company? Some people on Twitter seem to think so unless the Coca-Cola company comes out and denounces Donald Trump.
In fact, Coca-Cola had already demonstrated its corporate displeasure with Donald Trump when they withdrew their sponsorship of the Republican National Convention (which had been $6,000,000 in 2012) in response to a letter sent out by a group known as ColorofChange. Their support was limited to the $75,000 they had already donated. So it would appear that Coca-Cola is on the side of the angels.
Individuals are certainly free not to purchase products that they deem associated with Donald Trump. But the companies have no control over who uses their products, and have spoken out forcefully and quickly when their products becomes associated with bigotry and hate.
But you are still free to drink diet-Coke, eat McDonald’s cheeseburgers, and Kentucky Fried Chicken – if you want to have a heart attack.