A lot of brands have been targeted over their sponsorship of Glenn Beck’s show on TV and radio.
So should brands be more vocal about their views, or the views of their management? Would you recommend that type of stance to a client?
Most companies aren’t very public with their views. And this is where the new “join the conversation” and “let’s be friends and have dialogues with brands” thinking starts to get tested. Because the conversation isn’t going to go as smoothly as marketers want it to. Many of the people protesting Whole Foods are big fans, and big spending customers, of the brand. And they’re mad because they do feel such loyalty, and the opinion of the CEO makes them think that loyalty isn’t returned in kind.
Conversely, many people think the boycott advocates are misguided. So this is what we’re seeing: Left-wing Whole Foods customers getting themselves in a twist and others writing letters to Glenn Beck’s advertisers. Right-wingers pledging extra support to Glenn Beck’s ex-advertisers and praising John Mackey. Lots of noise. Lots of vitriol. And marketers getting distracted by having to step lightly around a vocal but small minority of their customers when they’d rather focus on increasing sales in a bad economy. But to some customers, boycotting is the only way they think they could make a difference.
It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo.