Hoover Protests Canceled Soap Operas by Pulling ABC Ads

The vacuum behemoth boycotts the network for axing long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live

So long, suckers! ABC's decision to cancel All My Children and One Life to Live has cost the network one of its longtime advertisers, Hoover vacuums.

Brian Kirkendall, Hoover's vice president of marketing, announced the decision to pull its ads from ABC on Hoover's Facebook page. Addressing soap fans directly, he wrote: "I want you to know from me personally that we hear you loud and clear. My wife and mother are both passionate viewers of All My Children and One Life to Liveas are many of my colleagues here at Hoover. In fact, we will discontinue our advertising with ABC this Friday, 4/22. We're making every attempt to pull our spots from these programs sooner."

Boycotting a network because of a canceled show isn't so unusual for disgruntled fans. But it's an uncommon move for a corporation. Hoover is an entity, not a person, and its main goal is making money. If it's true what ABC says about the declining popularity of soaps, then it's in Hoover's best interest to abandon soaps, too -- and champion whatever other shows can draw more eyeballs to their commercials.

Why would Hoover act as if it's a person, putting viewing habits and opinions above better business judgement? A person just like all those disappointed soap fans?

The company probably does have some diehard soap fans among its employees. But more likely, its marketing department sees the value in being perceived as a person "just like all of you soap fans." After all, that perception can help them in the marketplace. Wouldn't you want to buy a vacuum cleaner from someone who shares your love for Erica Kane?

The question now is: Will other companies follow suit, expressing their displeasure by yanking their ads? And will it work?

Hoover is also starting a campaign to get the network to reverse its decision, setting up an email address, SaveTheSoaps@Hoover.com, for fans who want to join the chorus of disapproval. If enough other companies join the effort, maybe a reversal is possible.

And even if not, Hoover still wins: All this publicity is priceless.

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