Consumers are demanding that companies that offer discounts to NRA members sever their ties or risk a boycott. This consumer activism is having some success.
Here is the rest of the story…
On February 23, 2018, Julie Creswell and Tiffany Hsu of the New York Times penned the following report, “Companies Cut Ties to the N.R.A., but Find There Is No Neutral Ground”
“MetLife didn’t shoot anyone, but I just can’t pay them,” Clark Bacon, a research assistant at a children’s hospital, said in an interview Friday morning, after posting about his frustration on the company’s Facebook page. He had pledged to cancel his MetLife auto and home insurance package, for which he spends nearly $9,000 a year, after learning that the company offered N.R.A. members pre-negotiated discounts.
“For companies like MetLife that are caught in the middle of these angry social media storms, actions tied to divisive social issues can be a lose-lose proposition.”
“Marketing experts say it’s difficult to determine whether calls for boycotts can truly have an impact on a company’s business.”
“Memories fade. The intensity of the feelings that people have on this subject right now will feel different one month or five months from now,” said Maurice Schweitzer, a professor of operations, information and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.”
“In the aftermath of nearly all of the mass shootings in the United States, there have been attempts to pressure lawmakers and companies that manufacture or sell guns to change. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, both the California’s state pension fund and the California teachers pension fund divested their stakes in gun manufacturers.”
“And after a gunman used an accessory called a bump stock in a mass shooting in Las Vegas last October, two retailers, Walmart and the outdoors store Cabela’s, removed the products from their websites.”
“But in the days since the Florida school shooting, the push for boycotts and meaningful change has mobilized faster than with previous mass shootings. Professor Schweitzer noted that reflected the fact that the survivors are teenagers who are well versed in the usage and power of social media.”
“On Twitter, the hashtag #stopNRAmazon was a rallying cry aimed at pressuring Amazon to stop streaming content from NRATV, the gun group’s online video channel. The effort quickly drew support from Hollywood as actors like Alyssa Milano, Denis O’Hare, Evan Handler and Misha Collins posted on social media in support of the campaign; several noted that Amazon prohibits the sale of firearms on its e-commerce site.”
“Leading retailers including Cabela’s, Walmart and Bass Pro Shops also came under renewed boycott calls on Twitter for selling guns or sponsoring N.R.A. events. The retailers did not respond to emails seeking comment.”
“North American and Allied Van Lines no longer have an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately,’’ the company said in an emailed statement. “We have asked them to remove our listing from their benefits site.”
“Even companies that do not have ties to the N.R.A. nevertheless rushed to distance themselves from the group. Wyndham Hotels said in a statement that it ended its relationship with the trade group in late 2017. Best Western Hotels & Resorts tweeted to dozens of customers that it “does not have an affiliation with and is not a corporate partner” of the N.R.A.”
“Earlier this week, lists of companies that were part of the N.R.A. membership program began circulating over Facebook and Twitter. A Change.org petition asked 25 companies, including North American Van Lines and the hearing aid company Starkey Hearing Technologies, to break their connection with the N.R.A. The petition had more than 1,100 signatures by midday Friday.”
“With lists of companies circulating widely, Facebook users swarmed the profiles of Avis, MetLife and others, announcing their plans to end their patronage and switch to competitors.”
“Rob Bradford, a designer who travels frequently, said Friday morning he would take the $600 he spends each year renting vehicles from Avis to competing rental companies if Avis did not disavow the N.R.A.”
“I know that boycotts work, especially in the age of social media,” he said. “I will go out of my way to avoid businesses associated with that group even if that means spending more money.”
“By Friday afternoon (2/23/18), Avis Budget Group, which owns car-rental companies Avis and Budget, said it had decided to end its discount partnership with the N.R.A., effective on March 26, according to a spokesperson.”
“Late Thursday, the First National Bank of Omaha, which calls itself the largest privately owned bank holding company in the country, said that it would not renew its contract with the trade group to issue an N.R.A.-branded credit card.”
“The card had been advertised as “the official credit card of the N.R.A.,” and cardholders were offered a $40 credit with their first purchase.”
“But the move drew strong, even extreme, reaction on the bank’s Facebook page.”
“You are doing the right thing by dropping the NRA,” one user wrote. “They are a hate group with blood on their hands. Thank you for walking away from them.”
But the opposing viewpoint was evident as well. “I discontinued my account with you last night for discontinuing the relationship with the NRA,” another user wrote.”
As per 2/24/18 VOX report by Emily Stewart, “The Parkland shooting — and the NRA’s absurd, insensitive response to it — has increased pressure from consumers and activists on companies to cut ties. The hashtag #BoycottNRA has begun to pop up on Twitter.”
“Apple, Amazon, and Google are also under pressure to drop NRAtv, the lobbying group’s streaming channel. They have yet to act. A number of companies are sticking by the NRA, at least for now, including FedEx, which has been under activist pressure to end its discount for the NRA for over a year.”
- Enterprise Holdings, operator of Enterprise, Alamo, and National Car Rental, said they were ending discount programs. [link?]
- TrueCar ended its car buying service relationship.
- Hertz ended its rental car discount program.
- Avis said it will end its NRA member discount in March.
- Symantec, which owns Norton AntiVirus and LifeLock, severed its partnership discount program.
- MetLife ended its discount program for NRA members.
- SimpliSafe, a home security company, said it ended its relationship with the NRA.
- Best Western said it has no affiliation with the NRA, nor is a corporate partner. It is unclear when it cut ties.
- Wyndham Hotels appears to have cut ties with the NRA in late 2017, before Parkland.
- United Airlines said it would no longer offer its special rate for the NRA’s annual meeting.
- Delta ended its contract for group travel discounts.