Keurig Backs Down After Customer Outrage
Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort decided Monday the single-serve coffee machine maker had no grounds to wade into politics. On Nov. 11, the company announced on Twitter that it had stopped airing its ad during “Hannity,” a Fox talk show.
Keurig and other advertisers pulled ads due to show host Sean Hannity’s coverage of a politician accused of sexual assault against a minor. Keurig, however, announced the decision on Twitter, which enraged show fans enough that they created videos of themselves destroying their coffee makers. Then they posted the videos on social media with the tags #BoycottKeurig #KeurigSmashChallenge.
As of Monday afternoon, Keurig’s tweet to “Donna” (@dtcav) about pulling the ad remained on @Keurig.
Donna, thank you for your concern and for bringing this to our attention. We worked with our media partner and FOX news to stop our ad from airing during the Sean Hannity Show.
— Keurig (@Keurig) November 11, 2017
However, the sentiment did not remain with Keurig.
The Washington Times reports on Monday:
Fox News fans started a #BoycottKeurig hashtag and uploaded videos of them smashing and setting coffee makers on fire after the company announced on Twitter that it had pulled ads from “Hannity” following the host’s radio interview of Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old four decades ago.
In a memo to employees published by The Washington Post, Mr. Gamgort said the company’s “highly unusual” decision to announce its plans publicly was “outside of company protocols.”
“This gave the appearance of ‘taking sides’ in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent,” the CEO wrote [to employees]. “Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation that requires an overhaul of our issues response and external communications policies and the introduction of safeguards to ensure this never happen again. Our company and brand reputations are too valuable to be put at risk in this manner.
“I apologize for any negativity that you have experienced as a result of this situation and assure you that we will learn and improve going forward,” he added.
It seems as though brands may be tiring of having their names associated with politics. A couple of weeks ago, the founder and CEO of pizza chain Papa John’s, John Schnatter, blamed the NFL players’ protest during the national anthem for declining profits — citing the pizza chain’s sponsorship of the NFL.
Adweek reports on Nov. 6:
While advertisers are sticking by the NFL games this season, they have made it clear to at least one network that they might pull out if coverage of national anthem protests continues.
Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal, said that some advertisers are unhappy about the controversy over protests, which has “impacted” NFL ratings this year.
What do you think, marketers? Why is this different from Kellogg's?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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