Posted by Tyler Hustwick 10 months, 2 weeks ago

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It's extremely rare that a brand—particularly a big one — explicitly endorses a president. It’s not because brands don’t care who wins or loses, but that being bipartisan is just smart business. And yet this week, U.S. based sportswear company New Balance, decided to jump into the political foray.

In a statement tweeted by The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ), New Balance’s VP of Public Affairs, Matt LeBretton said the following:

“The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction"

Taken in context, the statement can be traced back to New Balance’s opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that could potentially threaten domestic production from U.S. based brands — New Balance currently produces roughly 70% of its product on American soil. However, the statement caused a viral backlash, as upset consumers took to social media to vent their frustrations and threaten an outright boycott of the brand:

New Balance has since clarified its stance, and in an effort to tackle the P.R. debacle issued the following:

"The statement is correct in the context of trade, not talking about large geo-political anything, but in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade and trade policy in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today.”

The company also tweeted this:

It's true that the TPP, by making it easier to import goods to the U.S., could create an environment in which Made-in-U.S.A. products are even harder to make and sell in the United States, so New Balance may have a point. However, given the current political state of our country, the brand certainly should have used better judgement in the timing of its statement.

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