Can companies come back from woke publicity stunt flops? ‘Woke, Inc’ author says yes

Republican presidential candidate and “Woke, Inc” author Vivek Ramaswamy, said companies should be able to walk back their ventures into the culture wars. “I think that there’s an opportunity for companies to set their course straight,” Ramaswamy told Fox News while on his campaign bus in New Hampshire. “I believe in companies learning from their mistakes.” Budweiser released a patriotic ad Friday featuring its iconic Clydesdale horses trotting by U.S. landmarks. The commercial aired after Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier this month, leading to a boycott and its parent company Anheuser-Busch losing $5 billion in value. WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE “It’s just the latest example of a trend in corporate America where companies pretend to care about something other than profit and power precisely to gain more of each,” Ramaswamy said of Bud Light’s partnership.  “Particularly in this case, their executives are even engaging in self-harm to the company’s own commercial goals, alienating their customer base by this Dylan Mulvaney deal that they struck, when in fact, it just makes them feel better about themselves and bend the knee to this new ESG orthodoxy,” he said. FORMER BUD LIGHT DRINKERS SAY ‘TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE’ AFTER BRAND TRIES TO MAKE AMENDS WITH PRO-AMERICA AD Ramaswamy cited Netflix as an example of a company that veered into politics only to backtrack to prioritize performance. The streaming giant last year axed a number of projects that would likely attract a liberal audience, such as an animated version of Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist Baby,” and laid off 2% of its staff. “It was a company that was in the center of Hollywood, bending its knee to the anti-excellence and woke orthodoxy,” he said. “They actually had a disastrous quarterly earnings report that then caused Netflix to say, okay, we’re rethinking things.” BUDWEISER’S NEW PRO-AMERICA AD SETS SOCIAL MEDIA ABLAZE: CAN’T PUT THE ‘GENIE BACK IN THE BOTTLE, GUYS’ “Then they sent a memo that said that if you don’t like what’s happening at this company, you don’t like what movies or what TV shows you’re assigned to because they offend you, you might want to consider working for a different company,” Ramaswamy added. The presidential hopeful also said Netflix changing its path was “capitalism working itself out.” Ramaswamy, 37, was the founder and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Roivant Science. He stepped down in 2021 and published “Woke, Inc,” which makes the case for ridding corporate America of politics. “The free market is really working,” Ramaswamy told Fox News. “I’m optimistic that if we change our culture, if we end this victimhood culture amongst the next generation of Americans, the demand side might not pay off as well for companies.” “Companies like Netflix and, who knows, maybe even Budweiser will change their behaviors accordingly,” he said. BUD LIGHT’S DYLAN MULVANEY PROMO WILL BE ULTIMATELY GOOD FOR BRAND, PUBLIC RELATIONS GURU INSISTS Ramaswamy added that the infusion of woke politics is affecting America’s boardrooms across many companies beyond Bud Light. He pointed to backlash after Coca-Cola’s condemned a 2021 Republican-led Georgia voting law that required voters requesting or submitting an absentee ballot to show identification.  Ramaswamy said Coca-Cola was “another beverage company behaving more like a super PAC than a soft drink manufacturer.”  He added that he believes many companies are willing to wade into woke American politics but avoid “saying a peep about actual human rights atrocities in places like China.” “I think that this is just another example of not just a failure of American capitalism, but a failure of American culture,” he said, adding that companies are just “blowing smoke to deflect accountability from the real things they’d rather not face up to.” Budweiser did not immediately return a request for comment. Click here to learn more about Ramaswamy’s take on corporations exiting culture wars.
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