Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Brands taking stands earn themselves viral social media reactions, but perhaps Uber and Starbucks have it right — be proactive, rather than waiting for a tweet from President Donald Trump to send stock prices tumbling. Supporting one cause may yield sales from one group, even as another bloc boycotts the marketer.

It’s been a tough month for airlines. The following went bust (in alphabetical order): Aloha, ATA, Eos, Frontier and Skybus. In addition, the following airlines announced first-quarter losses: Alaska (-$35.9 million), American (-$328 million), Delta (-$6.4 billion), Northwest (-$4.1 billion), United (-$537 million) and US Airways (-$236 million). Meanwhile, on April 29, Royal Dutch Shell and BP announced quarterly profits of $14.4 billion for the first quarter of 2008. Consumers are screaming bloody murder about the cost of gas and double-digit increases in food prices. Retailers are whining that sales are way off and the cost of goods sold is higher. The culprit: $115+

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