The saying ‘Go woke, go broke’ has entered common parlance in recent years – and now Americans have been offered the chance to easily avoid companies whose politics they find too progressive.
An app called Veebs allows users to scan barcodes of products while shopping in supermarkets – and provides instant information on whether the owners of the product have donned an activist cap to wade into controversial social issues.
To judge the ideological standing of everyday items, Veebs’ algorithm calculates a ‘V score’ from one to 100. The lower the score, the woker the company. The app is designed to appeal to both progressives and conservative – and can be tweaked to offer woke alternatives to a conservative brand, or vice versa.
Following its widely-publicized launch this week, DailyMail.com took to the streets of Manhattan to look at the options available to residents in one of the most progressive cities on Earth, where many residents proudly support contentious ideas like critical race theory, and so-called gender-affirming care for children.
After reviewing a range of products from hot sauce to furniture, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream unsurprisingly came in with one of the worst scores with just 20, likely due to its relentless PR statements touting leftwing talking points.
They include attacks on Israel and the US for stealing Native American land – while refusing to give up the site of its own sprawling Vermont HQ to the indigenous people it was once taken from.
Two sample scans are pictured on Veeb. Brands are awarded a score between 0 and 100. The lower the score, the woker a company is – with alternatives also offered for brands deemed overly progressive
As culture wars debates continue to plague everyday life in America, Veebs said it created the socialist-busting app because political values have emerged as a ‘new criteria’ for customers.
Examples include Bud Light, which continues to deal with the backlash from hiring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a TikTok promotion, where the beer giant emblazoned her face on one if its iconic blue cans.
To use the app, the camera on a smartphone becomes a barcode reader to determine which product is being reviewed, the same as a regular supermarket scanner.
It then calculates a V score within seconds, which can change in real-time based on any ill-thought-out public statements or disastrous woke advertising a company may push.
The app compares its V score ranking to a financial credit score, including both objective and subjective information to gauge how liberal a brand is.
The score is based on public information available about the company, including financial reports, statements, press releases, interviews, ad campaigns, and social media.
Veebs compares its ‘V score’ to a credit score, and bases its algorithm on public information available about the company, including financial reports, statements, press releases, interviews, ad campaigns, and social media
Veebs says it crams as much data ‘as our servers can consume’ into the algorithm, which is also variable based on political preferences users can add to their profile.
Among the preferences available for users to add include ‘America First’ and ‘Social Justice’, which can color code scores to approve of woke-minded products like Ben and Jerry’s.
However, the app is not without flaws. The most notable is the relatively limited number of products that can be scanned – currently around 300,000 items.
Most products tried out also seemingly landed around the middle of the spectrum, with favorite beverages Vita Coco coconut water and Vitamin Water coming in at 62 and 40 respectively.
And while Cliff protein bars were also given a middling score of 47, Cholula hot sauce was among the wokest products on the market, coming in with a V score of just 27.
Cholula hot sauce was among the wokest products on the market according to the app, as it was given a V score of just 27 out of 100
Unsurprisingly, hyper-woke ice cream brand Ben & Jerrys fared badly, and scored just 20 points – indicating that its values are extremely progressive
When the app was tried by DailyMail.com, a large number of the products reviewed landed around the middle of the scale. This included Vita Coco coconut water and Vitamin Water, which were given scores of 62 and 40 respectively
The app’s interface uses a smartphone camera to scan barcodes on items
Following the fervor over the app’s launch, Veebs’ CEO Chris Rhodes told DailyMail.com that his team were ‘thrilled with the early enthusiasm.’
‘We look forward to even more people making informed decisions during their visits to the grocery store,’ he said, adding that he expects 500,000 items to be reviewable on the app by the end of the year.
‘This early activity for the app just goes to show that people want to buy products based on their values, but they need it to be easy to do and to be where they already are shopping.’
He said the idea for the app was first conceived two years ago, when the founders ‘saw an opportunity to help people buy with their conscience.’
Rhodes said it became clear that despite culture wars issues gaining momentum, it seemed that information was not easily and conveniently available on where certain companies stood.
‘But as we thought about this challenge, we realized that the foundational technology was there to empower people, and they were already shopping with their phones in their hands anyway,’ he continued.
Veebs claims on its website that it created its algorithm with ‘as much (data) as our servers can consume’, which comprises of public information available about a brand.
‘It was a huge lift of data gathering and programming, but now here we are, in a time that needs this type of tool,’ Rhodes said, feeling that the app has grown in importance since it was first conceived in 2021 due to the nation’s hostile politics.
‘We will remain independent of the companies we score, and just generally want to be a more useful and trusted partner for consumers.’
The app comes as Bud Light continues to face backlash for its April partnership with transgender TikToker Dylan Mulvaney
The app’s launch comes as debates over ‘woke culture’ have continued to filter into everyday life, with marketing and advertising at the forefront.
In April, Bud Light executives made one of the most detrimental business decisions in recent memory when they collaborated with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The company saw its market cap fall by a staggering $22 billion in the fallout from the ads, as it lost its coveted position as the number one beer brand in America.
And while Modelo cements its place as the nation’s favorite, the boycott of Bud Light’s products has seen boxes of its beer become cheaper than water.
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