Man the barricades! Shoppers of the world unite! Now 'woke' consumption is completely socially acceptable. In fact, as a non-activist consumer, you do not matter anymore. Social media is today's banner, and the debit card is the weapon to force large multinationals to their knees. Aren't they?
Okay, maybe not. As consumers, how many large companies have we really forced to their knees in recent years by protesting with our wallets and social media profiles? Yet there is now a new generation of consumers who like to parade their social engagement and activism.
And so brands are falling over themselves to convince us consumers of their social motives. From Nike's striking campaign with the kneeling NFL star Colin Kaepernick to Gillette's half-baked “The best men can be”, brands seem to be looking for the right way to nail their social colours to the mast.
In the wake of positive and negative responses to various 'woke' campaigns, behavioural scientist Clay Routledge posted a Tweet that precisely exposed the nerve of this paradoxical new brand strategy:
“We are living in an era of woke capitalism in which companies pretend to care about social justice to sell products to people who pretend to hate capitalism”