When brand's take a stand on social issues

This morning (or yesterday, by the time you're reading this), Donald Sterling (owner of the LA Clippers) was banned for life from the NBA after a recording of him making racist comments was leaked. He was fined over 2 million dollars, (which is pretty much small change for guy like Sterling). But the repercussion that created the most buzz was that the commissioner has also committed to force Sterling to sell the team.

After the announcement, you were presented with the following screen on the Clipper's website:

It really got me thinking about public displays of brand positioning on social issues. I wondered, when a brand decides to position itself in social issues, how does it effect them? Is it a marketing ploy? It can certainly create a lot of buzz, it's easy for something controversial to go viral. However, is it right to use social issues to go "viral"?

There's this Kenneth Cole pro-choice commercial:

When OKcupid displayed the following letter if you accessed their site using Firefox:

(Chrome FTW!) 

Then, there was the recent Honey Maid video that responded to negative reactions to a prior ad:

So, back to all my philosophical branding questions. Is it right? Does it "work"? I stumbled upon this quote while doing research for this post, it really sums up the decision to "take a stand".:

“Before I saw brands taking a stand (i.e. most recently for marriage equality), I would have said leave politics to the politicians. But here’s the bottom line: when you make a very clear statement about a political issue as a brand, you are going to do two things. One, you are alienating your business from customers who don’t agree with you. Two, you are increasing the loyalty of customers that do agree with you. There is no “yes or no” answer that’s right for every business.”

- Liz Theresa, Owner of LizTheresa.com HT: YFS Magazine

IMO? I love these PDSIs (public displays on social issues) and believe these ones in particular do a great job. They evoke emotion. And while you can never 100% trust a corporation, it's safe to say the stance that they're taking is baked into their company culture and truly comes from the heart of their employees & customers.