Gap Inc. managed to get three of its outlets — Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic — out of the crosshairs of the American Family Association by the simple expedient of running an ad for Old Navy with the phrase “Merry Christmas” in it. AFA isn’t done with Gap, but says it is moving on to other targets.
Next up are Best Buy and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
AFA President Tim Wildmon said, “We’re in this fight because we are disturbed by the increasing secularization of our culture in general and Christmas in particular. We’re gratified that Gap has responded to the thousands of phone calls, emails and petitions from Americans who share our concerns. We hope to engage Gap in dialogue over this next year, so we can move them from our ‘Naughty’ category into our ‘Nice’ category, just like we did with Sears and Lowe’s.”
AFA says that it will encourage shoppers to buy their electronic and sporting goods from retailers who are not afraid to use the word “Christmas” in their advertising.
RBR-TVBR observation: There seems to be no act, saying or position so middle-of-the-road that there is not a group out there ready to howl to the moon about it and organize a boycott. In this case, the specific attempt to advertise in a manner that seeks to offend nobody is found to be offensive.
A company may please one group, but that may open it up to action from some other group. How do you steer your company through this social/political minefield? Our only advice is to operate in a fair and honest manner and let the chips fall where they may.