Lowe's steps right into it, rolls around in it

I know this is one of those sideshow distraction stories, but it’s still amazing due to the size of the ineptness Lowe’s has shown in handling it. The short version of the story (and it’s a short story) is Lowe’s caved to the demands of a far-right religious group in Florida and pulled their ads from a TLC show called “All-American Muslim.” When asked about the unadulterated bigotry of their decision, Lowe’s punted:

Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.

It’s like watching an entire corporation being trolled, and I’m sure we’ll see a “We never said that!” post from Lowe’s soon enough, after enough people point out they’re basically confirming the stereotypes the show is trying to disprove.

Anyway, it’d be easy to draw a line from this and say attitudes toward Muslims have reached the point where a company feels comfortable taking an action like this, one they wouldn’t (for example) toward a show featuring blacks if none of them were depicted smoking a crack pipe, or toward Jews if none of them were seen eating babies. I think it’s more an example of Lowe’s overvaluing the commerce of hillbillies building ammo sheds, but it’s still kind of depressing.

It’s pretty absurd that that show has somehow become an issue for rabid anti-Muslims. I watched an episode with a roommate and it was the most boring schlock ever, with the people on it doing everyday shit in an incredibly inoffensive manner.

Most of the characters aren’t even obviously Muslim; there’s a football coach, some chick who works for the government (I think?), a guy who also works for the government (I think?) and some chick who is opening a club.

The episode I saw had a bunch of dudes swigging beers while sitting in a garage. Live action King of the Hill.

Isn’t Lowe’s big in Nascar? I can picture a car sponsered by them for some reason. In today’s economy more than ever a retail outlet is not going to take a chance alienating their patrons.

I have never heard of this show, but it sounds like it comes very close to implying that Muslims are people — perhaps even Americans — rather than the robed and turbaned moon-worshiping fanatics 9/11 proves them to be. Wake up, America!

I’m not sure what you wanted here. The vast majority of the people who gave a crap about the issue wanted Lowe’s to stop. Not many people at all wanted them to continue. The only decision they could make that would have an impact would be to continue the ads, and the impact would have been negative, when all those pissed off people stopped shopping there - it’s an entirely defensive move. Would you have gone out of your way to buy ant poison at the Lowe’s across the street that’s hard to get to because it’s in the opposite direction of the way that I’m driving to support their tolerance? I’m not. Let’s just be honest about it - I’m not going to do that. I’m going to continue to stop at Home Depot because I just have to make one right turn on the way home, as opposed to many left ones. The company is reacting in the only way that it can possibly react.

It sucks, but it is what it is. I’m not in a position to second guess their marketing department’s evaluation of their own customers. My own impression of them would certainly reflect a similar conclusion, but all of my Lowe’s stores are in Texas, and the same could be said for a lot of establishments. The good news is that if I’m wrong, and I hope that I am, then the reactive outcry will put the hillbillies in perspective, but I’m assuming that the people at the company who get fired if they make the wrong call on stuff like this probably already did a bunch of bar graphs and shit that tells them which call is the worst to make.

The real moral of the story here is MAKE FEWER HILLBILLIES. Perhaps we should start a hillbilly outreach program in Florida or something.

Of course they are. Retail outlets take the chance of alienating their patrons every time they stock an item or run an advertisement. It’s the cost of doing business. And let’s be honest: no one was “alienated” until a couple of lunatics wrote things like:

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

If you’re worried about alienating those people, you can stop worrying. You’re never going to make them happy, and chances are they’re going to buy whatever they need from the place that stocks it at the lowest price. Ignoring them is the best way to keep business running smoothly. Caving is how you start alienating people.

I think those people think the same as you. They’re going to shop at Lowe’s or Home Depot because it’s convenient for them. I’d say Lowe’s should call their bluff by not saying anything about the matter at all and continuing to run ads on any show they think reaches their audience. When you’re forced to actually release a statement explaining your actions, there’s no “marketing department” in the world who is going to be happy.

No, it implies that America is still extremely good at mass producing shitty, unwatchable things on a daily bases. And also at generating hilariously absurd levels of controversy about said incredibly shit unwatchable things.

Lowes’ PR team probably just doesn’t have experience with this sort of thing - incredibly angry single-issue crackpot groups. So they mistake it for real public outrage and back down.

You don’t have to have experience with this sort of thing, you just have to use the internets a few times to know that giving in to these wackjobs will always backfire on you.

I can see Brian’s point here. Something like this wouldn’t affect my decision to go to a certain hardware store. I make those decisions purely on the basis of availability of products, price, and convenience, in that order. I’m pretty sure most normal people do. Bigoted religious nutjobs though might boycott a store that in their opinion is supporting some sort of pseudo terrorism.

My prediction is that the nutjobs will quiet down and be satisfied and within less than a week exactly no-one* will give a shit that this ever happened.

You have to ask yourself: is the fact that this happened really going to cause me to actively avoid Lowe’s even if that would cost me money and time? The answer is most likely not.

From a business perspective it makes perfect sense, backing away from a brand damaging outrage, even if in this case, it’s not a large number of people.

I agree with Brian’s assessment: we need fewer hillbilly groups steering decisions.

Don’t want to get all holy joe on people but no fucking way would I shop at a place that did something like this. “Just a screw up, wanted out of the problem?” Whatever. Once you’re in a problem like this and the Illinois Nazis are demanding that you stop stocking kosher foods or whatever, it’s officially your problem in terms whether it’s fair or not, and if you solve that problem by agreeing to the Illinois Nazis’ demands, you’re fucking contemptible and not getting my business.

I always figured the hillbillies would go to Home Depot, since that tends to be located right next to Wal-Mart.

At least it is here.

And you would be the opposite side of the same issue. Technically they are pissing someone off each way they go, they just chose in this case to react to the first one that screamed. If they change their mind I’d be surprised. It’s Lowe’s, they sell home improvement items, they probably really don’t have any political or racial motivation here beyond, “Oh shit did you see the news? We should pull those ads. I dunno where we should advertise instead, how about that fishing show on channel 3? And tell Jim to hurry up and do that, we’re late for lunch at the barbeque place off exit 36.”

Note: I’m not joking here. I know a lot of folks that work there, it’s about 10 minutes from my house. I seriously doubt it was much beyond a knee jerk reaction to something they didn’t understand all that well.

Middle Virginia has Lowe’s and Wal-Mart right next to each other, and when the Wal-Mart in our town moved into another building, Lowe’s did the same thing.

I have no idea what Overland Park does because I don’t know where Wal-Mart or Lowe’s are here, and I’m very happy about it.

It makes perfect sense only when your PR team is short-sighted and believes that you get to fly under the radar with this. An experienced team would have considered the real possibility that the media would get wind of this and have your company end up right where Lowe’s is now.

Perhaps they weighed even the media impact angle, and decided that it was still better to pull it. But one would think that if they did, they would have been better about their message: e.g., “We did not make a decision to pull our ads in response to pressure. Rather, it was part of our routine re-evaluation of our advertising buys.”

I agree with that, Stepsongrapes. I would say it’s probably a lack of knowledge on how to deal with the situation entirely, plus a knee-jerk reaction from leadership.

Maybe I’m not being fair on my assessment of people I know who work there. Maybe they have some PR people who should have known how to handle this better.

But Ron Paul assured me the free market would discourage such racism and bigotry.

I can never find anything in Lowe’s anyway, so here’s another reason to not go there.