One of the secrets to being a successful business is knowing an opportunity when you see one, especially opportunities provided by your competitors' blunders. On Sunday, YETI Coolers served up just such an opportunity and RTIC Coolers quickly took advantage.
The National Rifle Association Foundation said in a statement on Sunday that recently, without explanation, YETI informed the organization that it would no longer sell products to its charitable foundation:
Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why. They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs.
Is YETI caving to political pressure amid the Left's concerted effort to take down the NRA? It's impossible not to interpret the unexplained move this way. So did YETI think the NRA wouldn't reveal their decision to boycott a group viewed positively by a significant percentage of their target market? But if they were trying to make a political statement to appease anti-gun activists, then perhaps they wanted the NRA to publicize it, which would be even more inexplicable.
As expected, YETI's alleged decision to cut ties with the country's leading gun rights group inspired a #BoycottYetiCoolers movement online. It also inspired this simple but brilliant response on Facebook from a competitor:
So, will RTIC's pro-Second Amendment stance pay off? It already has:
We can safely assume that Ernie will not be the only one to choose the more affordable RTIC over the now politically-charged YETI.
UPDATE 1: After YETI customers, who happened to also own guns, began blowing up their costly coolers, and other cooler manufacturers, Pelican and ORCA, publicly pledged their support for the Second Amendment, YETI responded to the backlash with a statement expressing their commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights. The company also says that the NRA Foundation's statement claiming that they "no longer wish to be an NRA vendor" is misleading:
UPDATE 2: The NRA has responded to YETI's denial that they have cut ties with the group for political reasons. Guns.com reports:
“Yeti severed ties with the NRA and is now engaging in damage control after a backlash from many of its customers,” Marion Hammer, past NRA president and head of the group’s affiliate organization in Florida, told Guns.com.
“In early March, Yeti refused to place a previously negotiated order from NRA-ILA, citing ‘recent events’ as the reason – a clear reference to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida,” said Hammer, going on to say the company then delivered notice to the NRA Foundation that it was ending a seven-year agreement and demanded that the gun group remove the Yeti name and logo from the NRA’s websites and print material.
“While Yeti is trying to spin the story otherwise, those are the facts,” Hammer said. “While Yeti can choose to run from the NRA, they can’t run from the facts.”