This is how not to respond to a national controversy.
“We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, across our workforce and our customers, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment.
“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 lightning 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.”
That last sentence contradicts their actions. If they truly believed that it’s best to defer to communities, and if they truly have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, they should have left their advertising in place.
Advertising during a particular television program doesn’t mean you support the program. Do advertisers who pay $1milliion per minute for a Superbowl spot really endorse the game or a particular team, or are they just trying to get their product in front of as many eyeballs as possible? It’s the latter. Advertising is about getting people to know what your brand is, and what you sell, and doing that in the most cost-effective manner possible. If you’re trying to increase your sales in a particular demographic, it makes sense to advertise on a show that demographic is watching.
Nielsen says the show averages 1.2 million viewers per episode. That’s several hundred thousand potential customers. Compare that to the number of people who have heard about Lowes’ actions now – probably in the double-digit millions at this point. Most of those people are strongly polarized about Lowes right now, and that’s not a good thing for Lowes.
Lowes probably couldn’t win this one either way. But deferring to a small anti-Muslim group was not the best way to handle this. As one poster on Facebook says, “Muslims are probably the last group in America where it remains politically fashionable to collectively demonize and discriminate [against].” I’d add that Christians and gun-owners are right there too, but that would be awfully ironic.