Roe reversal degrades brand trust, impacts purchasing decisions

    • The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year has impacted the purchasing habits of 25% of respondents to a survey by Mindshare and GroupM, per details shared with Marketing Dive.
    • “The Women’s Rights and Bodily Autonomy Study” found that 51% of women, 54% of men and 62% of non-binary individuals said they did not trust brand statements on the landmark abortion and reproductive health access decision, feeling brands are just a vying for attention.
    • Over 50% of Gen Zers and 40% of millennials want brands to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and abortion access groups, reflecting the fine line brands need to walk with consumers when addressing this divisive topic. 

    The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in June has had far-reaching ramifications. The survey found 86% of women surveyed agreed being able to make their own decisions surrounding their body, health and sexual life is a basic human right. This sentiment was shared by the majority of White (58%), Black (75%) and Hispanic men (71%), who said the decision set women and those with uteruses back.

    In the advertising world, questions over how and if to respond to the decision shook brands, with many starting funds or launching services for consumers and employees. A survey by Mindshare and GroupM found that for many consumers, a company’s stance on Roe v. Wade could alter the consumer-brand relationship.

    A key takeaway is that a significant number of respondents said they are changing their purchasing decisions due to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, with LGBTQ people (43%), Hispanic men (41%) and non-binary people (46%) being the most likely to say they were changing their purchasing habits because of the ruling. Thirty-four percent of women surveyed reported they would stop purchasing from a brand if its CEO made regressive statements about bodily autonomy. That figure rose to 41% for multiracial/mixed race women and 38% for LGBTQ people.

    On the question of whether brands should support employees’ bodily autonomy through organizational policy, 41% of women said yes while 62% of non-binary folks felt the same way. 

    The survey’s findings reflect the growing sentiment that brands should take action on political issues, along with the fine line they walk while doing so. While many brands may be wary of getting political, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is making this increasingly difficult. Mobile location data, which marketers relay on for consumer behavior data, came under heavy scrutiny in the wake of the June decision, as some feared it could be given to law enforcement in states with abortion restrictions. In the immediate aftermath, agencies reported clients were being more cautious with their ads, while some brands, such as those who sell contraceptives, increased spending in the period after.

    Advertising is not the only sector taking a hit from the decision. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said the media played a significant role in spreading misinformation regarding the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, 57% of Gen Z respondents indicated they believed social media creators spoke about bodily autonomy in a more progressive way than the mainstream media.

    “The Women’s Rights and Bodily Autonomy Study” was conducted with GroupM/Choreograph’s Audience Origin platform and is based on a survey of 2,169 people. Field work was conducted from Aug. 5-25 in both English and Spanish. The findings were presented during a session at Advertising Week on Tuesday.


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