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The Republican National Convention May Be Turning Into a Toxic Brand

Cleveland Chosen To Host 2016 Republican National ConventionCleveland Chosen To Host 2016 Republican National Convention
Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, which has been chosen for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photograph by Jeff Swensen—Getty Images

As a contentious Republican National Convention looks increasingly likely in July, corporate sponsors may be getting spooked.

Companies including Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Walmart (WMT) are rethinking their sponsorship plans, according to the New York Times. And Coca-Cola (KO), which sponsored the 2012 Republican nominating event with $660,000, plans to chip in $75,000 this year.

Brands’ reluctance to associate their names with the upcoming July convention could be partially thanks to the advocacy group Color of Change, which has been pressuring companies to limit their contributions to the event. The group says it’s gotten more than 100,000 signatures on a petition demanding that Coca-Cola and other companies decline to sponsor the event, according to the Times.

In an open letter to a number of corporations earlier this month, Color of Change wrote: “As a major leader in the business community, a commitment on the part of your company to refrain from sponsoring a Donald Trump-led Republican National Convention would send a strong message to the public, the RNC, and other companies that Trump’s demagoguery and intolerance is not acceptable.”


Potential corporate sponsors are also weighing a potentially violent outcome if Trump does not secure the nomination, especially after the frontrunner warned there would be “riots” if he isn’t handed the honor. The Cleveland police department, according to the Times, has already requested riot gear.

The convention has raised $54 million of the $64 million needed so far from donors and sponsors.