Democratic Underground

How to Scare TV Show Sponsors and Influence People
November 26, 2001
by Tyler Durden

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Does anyone remember what the Religious Right does when they disagree with some television show about evolution, or when they think somebody like WBC is stepping over their spiritual line drawn in the sand?

They send letters, not to the TV show or to any offending Network: they send letters to their sponsors.

If you think that some fanatic's religious vitriol, followed by the declaration that "our Family/Friends/Neighbors/Co-Workers will never again buy your products, or shop at stores that stock them." does not very quickly to get the attention of the purveyor of soap or soup, then you are sorely mistaken.

I had the delightful experience of having this work for me, and I encourage everyone to try it, too.

I had the serendipitous happening of chancing on the Johnson & Johnson web site for some reason or another over a year ago. The Monica Lewinski/Barbara Waters "heart to heart chat" was coming up in a couple of days, and, lo and behold, there was a web banner shilling for it on the J & J website.

Being at that time a very minor stockholder in that company, I felt it might carry some weight if I e- and snail-mailed them my chagrin at their sponsoring this unsavory spectacle. Imagine my shock when, after being handed up the chain a couple of times, I found myself exchanging messages with a Junior Vice President, who assured me this banner was the result of a contract with a web advertising agency, they had no intention of sponsoring this show, and they would be pulling the banner immediately.

Knock me over with a feather. Complaining to a corporation sometimes works. In retrospect, I saw there were certain items that I could attribute my little victory to:

1. I was polite. I never called anyone "asshole" even when I thought it.

2. I used impeccable English. I didn't even use any contractions, and I kept the language concise and fairly simple.

3. I stated my exact displeasure without saying "I've been a Democratic supporter for years," or any other extremist (in their eyes) reference. This is a tough call by the way, and took several edits.

4. I stated my financial support for their products and company in specific terms: "My family and I have used ____ since ____ was a baby." my satisfaction with their products and my regretful intention to cease using their fine products and my intention to reluctantly let retail outlets who carry their products know why I and my very large family would no longer be shopping there.

This obviously will never work with Anheuser-Busch, but it does work very well with family product manufacturers. Just be very aware of how and who you write to.

So run out today, and pick on the CNN sponsor of your choice! Hey, if it works for Falwell, Dobson and the AFA, why shouldn't it work for us?