Brands are worried. The shifting international political scene, marked by deep divisions in societies across the world, has presented tough challenges to the idea of a shared culture. For brands, this throws up the question of whether it is possible to be mass market in 2017. Can they appeal to everyone and offend no one while still taking a stance on an issue in society? As PepsiCo's misjudged ad with Kendall Jenner demonstrated, it's all too easy to get it wrong.
Keith Weed, CMO at Unilever, the FMCG giant, has continued to invest in and champion brands within the company's portfolio that have dared to take a stand. Despite the risks of offending some, the rewards, he argued, are much greater.
"The most risky thing you can do right now is not notice," he told the audience at a Cannes Lions fringe event. During a session organised by AOL and Huffpost owner, Oath, Weed argued that taking a stance was more necessary than ever. "The real challenge is to break through the clutter and get noticed," he told Lydia Polgreen, Editor-in-chief of the Huffpost, who moderated the discussion. "Once you break through the clutter and get noticed, it's then getting people to spend time with you."