How New Balance, Pepsi and Kellogg’s Were Impacted by Trump Controversies

All three received negative feedback on social

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When a brand gets involved in political issues, whether accidentally or on purpose, it's bound to have an impact on how consumers talk about it on social media. Three brands that made headlines due to the election of Donald Trump—New Balance, Pepsi and Kellogg's—had to deal with negative sentiment on social media as a result, and new data from Taykey explores how each incident impacted the brands on social media.

In mid-November, New Balance became the subject of protests when Matt LeBretton, New Balance's vp of public affairs, told the Wall Street Journal that "things are going to move in the right direction," with President-elect Trump regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. 

As people posted photos and videos burning New Balance shoes on social media as a result of his statement, social conversation volume for New Balance rose by 100 percent (their biggest conversation-generating event of the year), according to Taykey. This conversation was negative, though, and brand sentiment declined by 75 percent.

However, since the incident, positive sentiment for the brand has been on the rise, as indicated in the chart below:


On Nov. 16, Trump supporters called for a boycott of Pepsi after its CEO, Indra Nooyi, noted that some of her employees were "in mourning" about Trump's election. Her comments led to fake news stories which reported that she also told Trump supporters to "take their business elsewhere." Again, social media conversation volume for Pepsi spiked, but the negative conversation drove social brand sentiment down by 93 percent, as positive sentiment for Pepsi dropped from 72 percent to 4.5 percent, according to Taykey.


Taykey's data found that while negative sentiment for New Balance and Pepsi has died down over the past month, Kellogg's is facing a more sustained backlash after pulling its advertising from alt-right website Breitbart, which was founded by Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon. On the heels of the ad ban, Breitbart launched a campaign, #DumpKelloggs, encouraging Trump supporters to boycott Kellogg's products. The boycott caused Kellogg's social media sentiment to fall dramatically, with a 75 percent nosedive, according to Taykey. Through Dec. 5, that sentiment had stayed mostly negative.


@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.