Expressing personal views using company property

Those who strongly oppose the latest disengagement plan have embraced the orange colour as a sign, and it is quite common to see cars carrying small orange ribbons tied to their antennas or mirrors.

And, while much more rare, some people who strongly support the disengagement, or who are just tired of seeing all those orange ribbons, have started tying blue ribbons to their cars.

In any case, if a person wants to express a political view, that’s fine. If they want to tie small ribbons to their cars, that’s perfectly fine as well.

When the cars aren’t theirs, however, I must take exception. Usually this is not a problem, and people driving company cars (at least in as so far as they are identifiable by having printed/painted company logos on them) avoid putting those ribbons on them. But not all, and not always.

A few days ago I saw one case which was very obvious, when two cars belonging to the same company were driving sompleace, and one of them carried an orange ribbon. Very obviously in this particular case, the orange ribbon was there to represent the opinion of the driver, not the company. But when there is just one visible car, this is less obvious.

The driver really should not have put the ribbon there. A car painted with company colours, and having a company logo, is not only an advertisement of the company, but also to an extent a representation of the company. If the car is involved in an accident, or just drives carelessly, for example, people watching it will associate the behaviour with the company.

A person tying something like that orange ribbon expresses an opinion. By doing it on a company car, this creates an association between the opinion and the company. This is not like in a written text, where a disclaimer can be added stating that the opinions are of the writer and not the company. When people see an orange ribbon on a car with company logo, they could regard the company, not the individual driver, as strongly opposing the disengagement. Or in a general case with other ideas which are expressed by anything attached to the car

That can hurt the company. In this particular case, the entire company is not in support, or both cars would have had the ribbons. So the driver, due to his own personal opinion, risks the company’s reputation, and hinder it with the appearance of political alignments. Very bad form, and extremely rude and inconsiderate. Even if the driver is certain it’s a good cause, he has no right to drag the company into it.

Regardless, one company is obviously greatly enjoying this whole thing. Orange Israel, one of the three large cellular network operators here. The company spent a lot of time and money trying to associate the colour orange with their brand, and their logo is not much more than a simple orange rectangle. While as a company they probably don’t have a political view about the disengagement, they’re probably overjoyed by the tons of free publicity. Their cars are also the only ones on which I suppose there won’t be much of a problem if someone will decide to hang an orange ribbon…

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