Whoever coined the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” had never met Kanye, Rudy Giuliani or Alex Jones, the former two being both sued for over a billion dollars on the basis of words.
Words do real damage. Whether it’s kids saying mean things to each other or celebrities making anti-semitic comments, people are starting to realize that words do hurt and can cost companies and individuals a ton of money.
The term woke now is usually used in reference to being politically and socially aware. Naturally, there are some people that push back on this and think that being ‘woke’ is people being sensitive, but I’m sure these are the same type of people that were against not being allowed to burn witches when it was originally presented.
So what do I mean when I say wokeness in advertising is going to be a trend in 2023?
Well, back to Kanye. Recently Adidas dropped him and cost the artist a billion dollars, that’s a billion with a B. Adidas as a company knows that having their brand associated with someone as polarizing as the guy that says “I like Hitler” is not a good look for a company.
Same for Elon Musk. He bought Twitter, made some horrendous decisions, people made fake accounts and tweeted as the official handle, costing companies billions and now advertisers are fleeing the platform. Even Tesla has seen a decrease in stock value as Elon continues to pedal conspiracies and other right wing propaganda on Twitter.
Now these trends aren’t new for 2022 going into 2023, look at Fox News, they lose sponsors all the time for things their line up of clowns say on their “news” programs.
I see a trend for companies to be more tightly aligned with the perceptions and values of the consumers more than ever in the future and truly backing more popular opinions with their ad dollars. Next year and beyond will be all about putting your ad dollars where the brand won’t be likely to be tarnished by association.
So, going into 2023, think before you speak, because even though sticks and stones may break your bones, words can cost you billions.
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