Never mind the political events that unfolded over the past eight days — we’ll leave that to the good folks at The Hill, Politico and Saturday Night Live. The latest shenanigans are a separate issue from the effort to protect and secure voting rights, which is still top of mind for many brands, companies and their nonprofit partners. With the U.S. presidential election only four weeks away, we’re updating you on the latest in how the U.S. business community is ensuring everyone can have their voices heard at the polls on November 3.
Editors note: Be sure to sign up for the weekly Brands Taking Stands newsletter, which arrives in your inbox every Wednesday.
Yes, you should Absolut-ly vote: Absolut has been one of the bolder brands when it comes to spending coin on advertising and sponsorships. It became a sponsor of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" long before the show caught on with a more mainstream audience. Earlier this year, it chose Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about sexual assault. And now, the brand, along with its parent company, Pernod Ricard, are spending ad dollars urging Americans to vote.
While we’re on the subject of beverages: Seattle-based Jones Soda is partnering with the nonprofit and nonpartisan Voter Participation Center to boost the rolls of eligible voters. Potential voters can scan a code on one of the brand’s bottles or visit the organization’s site to find out information about their home state’s registration deadlines and how and when they can vote.
Opting outside and for voting rights: REI has long encouraged its employee and customers to vote with their feet — as in, choosing to enjoy the great outdoors instead of staying open on Black Friday. Now, the outdoor retailer has an internal campaign to ensure employees can exercise their voting rights, whether that’s by sending in their ballots early or by mail. In the event going to the polls is the only option, the co-op says it’s offering flexible scheduling for employees, or they can take a flexible day designed to allow for taking time off for advocacy, enjoying the outdoors, community service or voting. The company has also launched its own site to educate both employees and customers about how they can “gear up to vote.”
Tuning out voter suppression and turning out citizens to the polls: The Black American Music Association (BAM) recently announced a partnership with the Voting Rights Are Civil Rights Initiative. The campaign is focused on protecting voting rights in 14 swing states and 54 counties with high Black and Latino populations. The groups say it is working with other entertainment industry groups, community organizations, voting rights activists and former election commissioners.
This brand screams for ice cream — and a fair election: Ben & Jerry's says it’s ramping up its fight to end systemic racism and secure voting rights by bringing back Justice ReMix'd, both an ice cream flavor and campaign dedicated to radical change in the U.S. criminal justice system and civil discourse. Further, the company will shutter all of its owned and operated facilities in the U.S., including its headquarters and ice cream factories, on November 3 to encourage all employees to cast their ballots. The company also supports legislation to make Election Day a federal holiday.
United, let’s vote: This week, the United Way kicked off the Vote United Election Hub in a bid to ensure anyone who wishes to perform their voting rights can do so. Developed with the nonpartisan civic organizations When We All Vote and VoteAmerica, this site serves as a dedicated resource offering individuals with the tools they need to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, find a polling location, and contact a local election office so each eligible voter in the U.S. can participate in the November elections.
Need a Lyft to the polls? Starbucks will provide its U.S. employees with a free Lyft ride of up to $75 so they can vote at the polls, volunteer as a poll worker, or drop off a ballot at an early voting location any time from now until November 3. This summer, the coffee giant announced it was offering retail employees options so they would not have to choose between a shift and voting on November 3.
Starting at Noon ET Thursday, October 8, and for the following two Thursdays, October 15 and 22, we’ll be talking about business leadership during times of crisis at this year’s 3BL Forum – Brands Taking Stands: Business Elects to Lead. Be sure to register for free here!
Image credit: Aaron Kittredge/Pexels
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.