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It might sound like a cop out, but the answer is truly both "yes" and "no."
The difference between the ones that led to company change and the ones that might as well have not happened lies within the boycott's actual intent…
What Makes Consumer Boycotts Work
If the aim of a consumer boycott is to hurt a company's bottom line, then they rarely succeed.
Take the 2010 protests in response to the massive BP Plc. (NYSE: BP) oil spill. ABC News and CNN, among myriad other media outlets, reported that millions of people were suddenly vowing not to fill up their gas tanks at BP stations after the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet, even if some folks really did follow through on this promise, the protests hardly put a dent in the oil leviathan's pocket. While the company reported a loss of $17.15 billion for the quarter in which the oil spill occurred, BP swung to a profit of $5 billion the quarter that followed.
However, British Petroleum did suffer from the protests in another way…