17 Brands That Went Woke and Paid the Price

Spreading awareness about social issues shouldn’t hurt anyone. But when certain companies tried, albeit poorly, they were met with backlash and even billion-dollar devaluations. Here are 17 brands that have paid the most for being woke.

Bud Light

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Bud Light’s little decision to send transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney one of its beer cans with her face on it didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Although we won’t say the brand went broke from this, it lost billions of dollars in sales as well as its top spot as the best-selling beer brand in the U.S.


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Target got a little too involved in 2023’s Pride Month. The superstore giant sold LGBTQ-themed apparel for babies and tuck-friendly swimsuits for both transgender women and children. The result? Target saw its first quarter sales drop for the first time in six years, the New York Post reports. It also lost $9 billion from the escapade.


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Disney has fully grown into the woke agenda, but not without paying a substantial price. As seen on Yahoo News, the company’s SEC filings state it faces risks to its profit due to widespread public disapproval of its political stances. It has been involved in brawls with even the Florida governor and has lost billions over the years.


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A simple statement from the Wickes boss saying people who didn’t like transgender people weren’t welcome caused some trouble. But it wasn’t until the company tried to take down a website calling it woke that some real effects were felt. Wickes witnessed a fall in its share price soon after.

Ben and Jerry’s

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On July 4, 2023, popular ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s tweeted at the U.S. government to return Indigenous land (which included Mount Rushmore) to the Lakota Sioux tribe. Well, customers said it hated America, called for a boycott, and, now, its parent company has lost nearly $19 billion in share value since.

Academy Awards

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The Academy decided to include diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) as criteria for Oscar nominations in 2021. By doing this, it lost tens of millions of viewers, and even its winner for Best Actor, Anthony Hopkins, as well as many other stars, didn’t attend the show.

Country Music Television

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When CMT removed Jason Alden’s “Try That in a Small Town,” an anti-woke song that spoke about Antifa and the BLM protests, all hell broke loose on it. The station faced calls for boycotts as the public accused it of limiting the freedoms of speech and artistic expression. It also lost 22% of its viewers from 2022 to 2023.

Victoria’s Secret

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Woke fails don’t come far worse than when the high-fashion lingerie brand tried to promote beauty in different body types in 2023. Instead of using diverse models, it still used slim, tall models that represented unrealistic Western beauty standards. This only worsened Victoria’s Secret’s financial posture, which The Guardian shows has fallen consistently worse since 2020.

L.A. Dodgers

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The Dodgers are known for being woke, but they went too far for their supporters by inviting a transgender group of nuns to their 2023 Pride Night. The team was eventually forced to withdraw its invitation and also apologize for considering it in the first place.

Puffin Books

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Puffin hired sensitivity experts to rewrite Roald Dahl’s children’s books and remove anything they found offensive. The resulting backlash was so widespread that even British Queen Consort Camilla had to speak on its effects on freedom of speech, as the Daily Mail reports.

Southern Poverty Law Center

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The SPLC has taken the fight against Florida’s W.O.K.E. Act personally, referring to the Act’s supporters as extremists and hate groups. In the wake of this, it has been described as a civil rights group experiencing unnecessary mission creep and, hence, losing its credibility amongst some supporters.


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In 2015, Chipotle promoted a pun on the Spanish translation of “How are you?” (¿Como estás?) by using the “Homo Estás” tagline. It angered both the anti-woke group (for supporting LGBT) and the Pride group (for using the slur word “homo”). Thankfully, despite the outrage, this went over a lot of people’s heads soon after.


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A commercial that seemed funny to Hyundai quickly got turned on its head. To promote suicide awareness, the ad depicted a man attempting to kill himself through carbon poisoning but failing because Hyundai’s iX35 emissions were too clean. This insensitive post caused massive complaints and steeply tarnished Hyundai’s image worldwide.


Starbucks cafe
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CEO Howard Schultz made Starbucks bathrooms in major cities open-to-anyone and free-for-all. Sadly, there wasn’t any true benefit from this, and all Starbucks got were forced closures due to junkies and homeless people making its facilities dangerous.


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Coming off a trend of poor management decisions and quarterly losses, P&G’s Gillette failed at an advertisement directed toward toxic masculinity. Although many say this isn’t the main cause, it certainly contributed to an $8 billion writedown in the value of its shares.

Burger King

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Burger King’s Twitter account ironically posted, “Women Belong in the Kitchen,” in a bid to support International Women’s Day. This was part of a marketing strategy to encourage the involvement of women in professional culinary careers, but it only tainted Burger King as a misogynistic company, as Forbes says.


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BrewDog attempted to enlighten everyone on the gender pay gap through its Pink IPA campaign—a pun on its signature Punk IPA bottles. Sadly, this backfired as its “beer for girls” tweet was barely interpreted as promoting equality.

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