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Boycott and racism: a loaf of bread is just a loaf of bread

Samshul-Amry Abdul-Latif (Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok Kedah, Malaysia)
Asmat-Nizam Abdul-Talib (Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok Kedah, Malaysia)

Publication date: 16 October 2015


Subject area

This case study can be used for courses under marketing management, international marketing or public relations.

Study level/applicability

This case study may be suitable for courses which discuss decision-making and/or executive actions and execution, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It could also be used in graduate classes as some open-ended questions are also included to illicit critical thoughts and fresh ideas.

Case overview

Companies can be boycotted for many reasons; for example, a company may be associated with or engage in egregious acts which trigger a consumer boycott. However, it is unusual for racial and political elements to form the basis of a consumer boycott. This paper describes how a current leader in the packaged bread market, Gardenia Bakeries Sdn Bhd (GBKL), responded to one such online campaign. This case study highlights the importance of effective communications and marketing strategies for responding to sensitive issues involving racism and politics.

Expected learning outcomes

Students are introduced to the concept of consumer boycotts and how this may affect a business. Students are exposed to the development of appropriate public relation strategies and explore creative methods to combat bad publicity and/or a smear campaign. Students can learn to appreciate the sensitivity of allegations of racism in a multi-ethnic country and understand how multi-ethnic consumers respond to these types of issues. Students are exposed to the effects of political and socio-demographic influences on purchase behavior in a particular market or country. Students may explore the effects of consumer activism on a company's brand image.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.



Abdul-Latif, S.-A. and Abdul-Talib, A.-N. (2015), "Boycott and racism: a loaf of bread is just a loaf of bread", , Vol. 5 No. 6.



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