In Branding & Identity, Marketing Strategy

Taylor – it has been a long relationship so I feel I can call you by your first name, and I want you to know I don’t care who you vote for. If you don’t want to tell me then that is one part of the mystery of our relationship that I want you to maintain. Privacy in the ballot box is crucial to democracy, and mystery is sexy… but here I am getting ahead of myself.

Taylor SwiftWhat I want to bring to your attention is that you’ve got a lot of impressionable fans who follow your every step and now a small number of them think you goose step in private. It’s more than memes, these evil groups have unofficially made you the poster child for their movement. Negative images and endorsements linger in people’s minds 10 times longer than positive ones and including when your lawyers are heavy handed with critics who mention that the alt-right says your silence is an endorsement. That is not a pretty picture and I think you are adorable even when you lose yourself dancing at the Grammys.

PizzaHow many times have you seen someone post an Onion article when they clearly thought it was real reporting. Sadly, it happens a lot and it isn’t just my Neanderthal friends (pardon Neanderthals). From a brand perspective, the question is when do you have to support your brand in face appropriation? Papa Johns hit by a popular yet ugly meme with pepperonis in the shape of swastikas on their pizzas stood up and said “we condemn hate groups… we don’t want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza.”

I wager they will be hurt economically by making this stand to a much greater extent than if Taylor Swift simply said don’t use my image, name or likeness in support of Nazis or the KKK because I do not support them. Her fans – including me need to hear this so we don’t have to defend her.

You told me, “We play dumb but we know exactly what we’re doing” and my friend thinks that means you are in silent agreement. I respond to him, as you taught me, “people are people and sometimes we change our minds” so give Taylor a chance.

Taylor, you may be immune to my heartbreak but I am not alone and even a brand like yours is vulnerable to changing opinions when associated with evildoers. As loyal as I am today you so accurately wrote, “People like me are gone forever when you say goodbye.”

In the end, “I hope you remember that today is never too late to be brand-new”. As you made so very clear, “Nothing safe is worth the drive”, so please Taylor take that risk and be clear to your legions of fans that you are not a Nazi + KKK nightmare dressed like a daydream.

As you remind me so often, Words, how little they mean when you’re a little too late – so don’t wait to make your voice heard.

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