From Harvey Weinstein to Health Insurance: New “Angerware” App Helps Consumers Take their Revenge

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Many consumers are eagerly embracing a new generation of anger-driven shopping assistant apps that help them avoid doing business with companies that don't match their values.

Shopping for perfume on Shoulder Angel

Shoulder Angel Shopping

...most of what we do is actually about positive action and the increasing willingness of Millennial consumers to spend more on goods and services they deem to be ethical and sustainable.

A pre-election CNN/ORC poll showed that almost 70% of Americans were either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” with the state of affairs in the USA. It should come as little surprise, then, that many consumers are using a new generation of shopping-assistant apps to help them avoid doing business with companies that don't match their values.

“A lot of people are calling it ‘angerware’,” said Erin Ferguson, founder and CEO of Shoulder Angel, Ltd. (@ShoulderAngelUK), one of the leading providers of ethics-driven shopping assistance software. “I suppose that description fits our Harvey Weinstein movie boycott feature well as any,” she continued, “but most of what we do is actually about positive action and the increasing willingness of Millennial consumers to spend more on goods and services they deem to be ethical and sustainable.”

There is considerable concrete data to substantiate Ms. Ferguson’s claim. A Nielsen survey on ethical consumerism that was conducted around the same time as the CNN/ORC poll suggested that up to 66% of consumers were willing to pay more for ethically-responsible goods. More significantly, that figure climbs to 72% for the Millennial age group.

“The app was designed with Millennial consumers in mind,” stated Andrew Montgomery, Shoulder Angel’s Chief Technology Officer. “Thus far, cruelty free cosmetics are our #1 seller amongst this age group. Millennials seem to be less about anger than positive action.”

But is it really that easy to quantify something like “positive action” where complex social issues and corporate entities are concerned? The Nielsen study cites brand trust as the #1 factor for global respondents to their survey. But how can a consumer really know which brands are worthy of their trust?

“Actually, it is one of our unique strengths,” explained Ms. Ferguson. “Our proprietary graph technology allows us to instantly trace multiple, complex ethical relationships and provide the consumer with a variety of alterative purchases.”

For example, one of Shoulder Angel’s most popular causes across all demographics is “Reproductive Rights.” A consumer who chooses this cause will be warned about products from companies who have taken legal action to remove contraception from their corporate insurance plans. This kind of direct connection can be found in a few other “angerware” products.

However, Shoulder Angel goes several steps further. The app tracks specific pieces of legislation, the politicians who vote on them and the companies that give money to these politicians. It is not uncommon, therefore, for Shoulder Angel to warn a user against products that are “made by companies… that have funded politicians... who have voted against laws…", when those laws aversely impact one of the user's causes.

Will consumers – Millennial and otherwise – find this a useful level of detail? How will companies and media personalities change their behavior over time in response to this new generation of “angerware” app? Only time will tell!

Shoulder Angel is freely available today from both the Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores.

About Shoulder Angel, Ltd.
Founded in 2017, Shoulder Angel, Ltd’s mission is to empower consumers with knowledge about the ethical practices of their suppliers. People use Shoulder Angel to avoid spending money with people and organizations that oppose their deeply held beliefs.

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Erin Ferguson
@ShoulderAngelUK
since: 04/2012
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