Brands and backlash
What do Americans think about celeb endorsements?

38%

of Americans feel the protest against Subway over Megan Rapinoe’s actions is justified

67%

of Americans say their favorite brand’s choice of brand ambassador matters to them

27%

of Americans most appreciate it when brands choose brand ambassadors who are loved by all

The public backlash over Subway’s brand ambassador Megan Rapinoe’s political statement has again drawn the focus onto celebrity endorsements and their impact on brand reputation. This report delves into people’s opinions of the ongoing controversy.

American fast-food chain Subway has been facing customer backlash and boycotts since its brand ambassador Megan Rapinoe took the knee during the National Anthem at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. The vocal star, often referred to as the Colin Kaepernick of the women’s soccer world, has been deemed anti-American, prompting Subway franchisees across the country to demand a nixing of her TV ads. This latest episode is one of the many instances where brands have had to face the heat because of their brand ambassadors’ opinions or actions. Given the increasing political activism by both celebrities and brands, is the protest against Subway justified? Importantly, what brand actions do customers appreciate the most? Piplsay polled 30,790 Americans to get some insights. Here is a summary of what we found:

Other Insights

    • 61% of men feel the protest against Subway because of Megan Rapinoe’s actions is justified as compared to just 39% of women
    • 38% of Gen Xers say their favorite brand’s choice of brand ambassador matters to them as compared to 37% of Millenials and 25% of Gen Zers
    • 35% of both Millennials and Gen Xers will criticize and boycott their favorite brand if they disapprove of its brand ambassador as compared to 30% of Gen Zers

Survey Methodology: This Piplsay survey was conducted nationwide in the US  from August 13-15, 2021. We received 30,790 online responses from individuals aged 18 years and older.

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