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The 2020 election is unlike any we’ve ever seen before. (At least it’s staying on-brand.) And in our little, multi-billion-dollar corner of the advertising world, it’s even shifting how major brands approach their advertising as they reconsider the pros and cons of talking politics.

After all, keeping quiet on the issues could actually cost you: Research shows an increase in brand loyalty for those that take a clear stance on social issues, even if it means alienating some of your consumer base.

Election season is proof that actions really do speak louder than words. (Although, partisan takes aside, you have to admit Patagonia’s verbiage is coming through loud and clear.) For example: “Stop Hate for Profit” was created to hold Facebook accountable for the hate speech that runs rampant on their platform, especially during election cycles.

So they recruited more than 1,200 blue chip businesses—like Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Colgate-Palmolive, and The North Face—to pull ad spend for the month of July, which, ironically enough, probably did more for these brands than certain paid media efforts.

Chipotle, meanwhile, offered customers the opportunity to wear direct action on their sleeves. Their cheeky “Chi-vote-le” t-shirts have a pepper-shaped QR code that leads to a voter registration site. While this line quickly sold out, TurboVote, their partner site, is still open for business.

If you’re worried that all these online efforts will still send tumbleweeds rolling through polling stations, don’t worry: OkCupid’s initiative is all about bringing people together—by setting up #VILFs. With convincing stats and super not-subtle lines, they’re aiming to drive people to the polls—and to prove that doing your civic duty totally seals the deal.

Which, as we’ve explained for the last 300-ish words, it will. Not only for the smokin’ hot voters among us, but also for the customers you’re trying to court. So raise your voice, use your ad dollars for good, and please, for the sake of all the parts of our democracy, don’t forget to vote.

Have an enlightening weekend researching local candidates, everybody!

—Your always-engaged friends at Brokaw

It’s shifting how major brands approach their advertising as they reconsider the pros and cons of talking politics.

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