Gini Dietrich

Lowe’s Caves to Pressure without Strategy

By: Gini Dietrich | December 21, 2011 | 
89

Have you heard about Lowe’s pulling their advertising from the TLC program, “All-American Muslim?”

The story goes like this: Lowe’s was advertising on The Learning Channel. As part of their media buy, their ads aired during the new reality show.

A conservative group, The Florida Family Association, complained.

According to the Associated Press, the group called the show:

Propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.

Riiiiight. 

I’ve not seen the show, but I saw it previewed before it began. According to what I saw, the families highlighted are, well, reality show material.

They’re not terrorists. They’re not anti-American. If anything, they represent all that is crazy about our country. You know, the Kardashian, train wreck kind of crazy.

But Lowe’s gave in to pressure from The Florida Family Association and pulled its ads. During an interview, they said:

Our decision was not political, it was not social in any way. We just knew that it was a controversial program and we wanted to reach consumers. A controversial program is not a great place to do that.

I see. So a reality show that follows five families who, are teachers, coaches, and policemen and represent a teeny, tiny minority of the Muslim population in America is a controversial show.

Let’s switch gears for a second.

Do you remember a little more than a year ago when Gap crowdsourced a new logo and launched to a myriad of complaints?

Yes, the complaints came from the very vocal blogosphere. People, who, by the accounts of Gap, are not customers. Yet they gave in, pulled their new logo out of circulation, and stayed with the original.

Later, a poll was done and Gap realized their customers either a) didn’t know they had launched a new logo or b) just didn’t care and continued to shop there.

It’s hard when you’re in the thick of things to ignore the vocal minority. I’ve had my own instances where one or two people, who have incredible reach, have tried to get me to change a blog post or reverse my view on something. It plain old sucks.

But that’s why strategy is so important. If Gap had been able to say, “Look. We know you don’t like our new logo, but you’re not our customer. The reason we’re doing this is XYZ.” Then they would have been done with it. Instead they caved.

Same thing with Lowe’s. Do they really think this show is anti-American and represents terrorists? I doubt it.

They caved to a very vocal, but minority representation of their customer. In fact, I’d love to know if the people behind this “anti-American” campaign even shop at Lowe’s.

You rarely do any advertising without a strategy. It’s too bad they couldn’t grow a thick skin and stick by the business reasons for advertising on TLC and during “All-American Muslim.” If anything, their decision to pull the ads makes me not want to shop there, not herald them for their decision.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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