Thursday, December 26, 2013

Duck Dynasty vs. Corporate America

If you’re a marketing major at any university in America you need to be watching very closely the goings-on in the Duck Dynasty saga.  Unless you’ve been in a cave the last couple of weeks you know by now that Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson voiced his religious objections to homosexuality to GQ magazine.  ‘Dynasty’s’ network, A&E, didn’t wait for
ratings or sponsor response.  They caved immediately to the radical Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  This is the same group that scared comedian Bob Newhart away from a conference for Catholic business leaders a couple of weeks ago.

GLAAD is famous for bullying any company or any organization they deem tolerant of anyone with views contradictory to their own.  Make no mistake about it.  This Duck Dynasty business is not about homosexuality.  It’s about freedom.

Let me be clear.  Phil Robertson has every right to voice his opinion on any subject under the sun.  A&E has every right to fire him for any reason.  Fans of the show have every right to be furious and never watch the network again.  This is capitalism at work.

We broke the story on our radio show that Cracker Barrel restaurants had pulled all merchandise with Phil Robertson’s image on it from their shelves, leaving the rest of the Duck Dynasty merchandise, as if no one would notice.  One of our listeners noticed and alerted us.  We alerted the country.  The outcry was swift and severe.  

Not all Cracker Barrel patrons watch Duck Dynasty but it’s a good bet that most Duck Dynasty viewers eat at Cracker Barrel.  Or, at least, they did.  Cracker Barrel withered under the two-day onslaught and, on the third day, relented.  They, in essence, admitted they’d made a bonehead mistake.  The question is, is it too late to recover?

The lesson is to know your customers.  Sure, A&E may have started off catering to the wine and cheese crowd with shows like America’s Castles but take a gander at the programming line-up these days.  Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, Rodeo Girls, Duck Dynasty and, coming this January, Crazy Hearts: Nashville.  This ain’t exactly high-brow television.  Nor is it likely programming aimed at a gay audience.

A&E knew exactly what it was getting with the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty.  In fact, Phil Robertson has a book out and, I’m told, lays out his beliefs in his book basically just like he laid them out to GQ.  Didn’t the folks at A&E read it?  Or, were they too busy counting their money.  Then the first time some radical, fringe group says ‘boo!’ they fold like a card table.

If this were a star from Downton Abbey, maybe.  A star from Glee?  Absolutely.  But this is Duck Dynasty, for crying out loud.  There probably aren’t two people in the entire audience who disagree with what Phil Robertson said.

We still have freedom of religion in this country and most mainstream religions consider homosexuality a sin.  Why are all these liberal elitists acting so surprised?  They’re not, really.  They’re just trying to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.  What has Uncle Phil told you for years?  The left is all about diversity except when it comes to diversity of thought.  One biblical reference to homosexuality and the mainstream media come unglued.  Meanwhile, Phil Robertson, at the epicenter of the firestorm, remains cool as a cucumber.

Pay attention, you marketing majors.  A 67-year-old duck-huntin’ good ole boy from Vivian, Louisiana has just made two multi-million-dollar corporations look like idiots.


Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.




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