The labor unions and other activist groups have officially called for a consumer boycott of the Super99 supermarkets - of which Pamama's president Martinelli is the owner - and liquor producer Hermanos Varela - owned by the Varela family, which includes the vice-president and the president of the national assembly. This is a good idea, but how can they make it really work?
There are several factors in play here. First of all, the conditions for a boycott are favorable. People are angry. The boycott has already been getting media attention. There are enough market substitutes for the targeted firms (eXtra, El Rey, Machetazo, as well as plenty of other liquor brands). The targets are easily identified. The target of the boycott, the owners of the companies, have the ability to change things in a way that would end the siege. The demands of the boycotters are reasonable, not outlandish.
That said, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
If the civic groups are serious about this boycott, they need to make a serious effort to maintain it.
One thing they could do is to distribute leaflets at the entrances of the Super99 stores to stop people from buying there. In addition, they could hand out other goodies like bumper stickers and such.
Then, it is important to realize that with such a boycott, there are two different things that are attacked. One is actual sales, and the other is the brand; its image, standing, prestige, trustworthiness, value. The latter is especially useful in the case of Super99, because it is widely assumed that Martinelli wants to sell it to Walmart, and the more tainted the brand becomes, the more he will suffer financially if he doesn't clean up his act.
Attacking the brand can be effectively done on the web, through Facebook pages, a special website about the boycott, emphasizing the link between Super99 and Martinelli's rogue policies through articles, YouTube videos, forum posts etceteras. The same goes for Seco Herrerano and Ron Abuelo.
The bottom line: To make this boycott a success it needs work. Not just calling "boycott!" and then leave it at that.
So, what can we do here, on the web, to make this happen and what should our messaging be, any ideas?