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To Change the Law, Defy the Law: Hijacking the Cause and Co-opting Its Advocate
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing  (IF4.5),  Pub Date : 2020-08-26, DOI: 10.1177/0743915620943855
Bernard Cova

Corporations are becoming increasingly active in the political landscape, with some claiming to support social causes aimed at influencing the regulatory agenda. Beyond the effects of such activities on consumers, the effects on the original advocates of a cause are unknown. Therefore, this research examines how the advocates of a cause respond to corporate approaches that integrate marketing and political activities. The present study analyzes the Marché Interdit campaign that French retailer Carrefour carried out in 2017–18 (promoting the farmer seeds liberalization cause) by examining the position of the initial advocate of the cause: Réseau Semences Paysannes. The findings reveal that such marketing activities resemble co-optation of the initial advocate of the cause and hijacking of the cause they advocate for. The case study also highlights the different tactics put into play by the initial advocate to resist co-optation and hijacking. The article concludes with the implications for organizations whose causes are being co-opted and for those seeking to promote a prosocial outcome.