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The age of Bully Marketing

The age of Bully Marketing

We’ve become accustomed to leftist agenda-ists using campaigns of intimidation and bullying to push their way into the public school system, museums, our churches and synagogues, and of course into the old guard media. Are consumer packaged goods the final frontier?

By now you’ve probably seen the Kraft Foods “gay pride” oreo the company placed on the cookie’s facebook page. The ad was the latest in a campaign orchestrated in conjunction with advertising agency Draft FCB as part of the “History Print” Oreo campaign.

Kraft Foods is just the latest company to choose to embrace contentious issues through its consumer brands. From General Mills’s Betty Crocker, Gap, and Target’s upfront support of Gay Pride to Unilever’s Ben and Jerry’s support of Occupy Wall Street, large corporations and their brands are choosing sides in the culture war.

Of course it is their choice–and ultimately, the stockholders’–to do so. But are there externalities that impact how brands approach their marketing that, in this age, go beyond the traditional “fill a consumer need?”

Companies do appear, at least publicly, to be content with the opportunity to add the political dimension to their brands’ personas. ABC News reports:

Basil Maglaris, a spokeswoman for Oreo’s parent company Kraft Foods, said in a statement that the image was part of a “series of daily ads reflecting current events in a fun way using images of OREO cookies and milk.” Kraft is not planning to sell the rainbow-stuffed Oreo in stores, Maglaris said, as it was created solely for the advertising campaign in honor of Pride month.

“We are excited to illustrate what is making history today in a fun and playful way,” she said in an email to ABC News. “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness.  We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values.”

But they are falling in line with a certain narrative the left has been working on over the past years. Note in particular the word “inclusive,” which comes up again and again (see the prior Betty Crocker link) as companies go through their their by-now pat defense of extreme brand politicization. Is it inclusive to introduce a highly politicized debate into a cookie’s branding, thereby opening up the opportunity to alienate a huge–if not majority–portion of your consumers? No, it is selective inclusion, a negation in terms, or as I call it, “Bully Marketing.”

As in the case of the McDonald’s happy meal toy in San Francisco, a small, relentless group of leftist activists intimidate large companies into embracing the carefully calculated leftist narrative of inclusiveness and tolerance, which really just means, promote their politics.

The most probable target market for Oreo, the leading brand in the cookie category, is children. The campaign, then has little to nothing to do with reaching the eventual target consumer, nor even the gatekeepers to Oreo purchases (parents). This is no push/pull consultant’s directive gone awry.

Rather, what Kraft and others are doing is making the “facilitating payment” that allows them to continue to operate their storefronts. It’s the money in the envelope that allows them to be left them alone–for now.

And Kraft’s betting that Oreo’s consumers will shrug their shoulders and keep their mouths shut, just as Americans have in all other areas of our lives as we cave in to a small group’s extreme views being pushed on us and our children. After all, none of us like being bullied. That’s why there’s a government website dedicated to stopping the practice.


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Ain’t that what Rev. Jeremiah recently said about #44?

I’m just waiting for the inclusive “al Qaeda Oreo”

People are waking up and are sick of it. I think this will hurt them in the long run.

It’s so sad to see our tax dollars ‘at work’ at this website. So, when schoolkids ‘exclude someone from a group on purpose’ this is bullying?

Yet when colleges exclude high SAT scoring asian kids in favor of other lower-SAT-scoring minority groups that’s OK? Is this one of the departments Romney will shut down once he’s elected?

“That’s why there’s a government website dedicated to stopping the practice.”

But, as with so many things, that sword is only supposed to cut one way…the Collectivist way.

Why, even Pres. Chooms almost daily practices overt bully tactics. He erects a straw-man with virtually every speech, and then demonizes the mythical extremists who oppose him.

He is the first President in my long memory to single out individual Americans who oppose his Collectivist acts.

Bullying has never been more in vogue.

theduchessofkitty | July 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Let’s call it for its proper name, shall we?

The Danegeld.

“It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

Written by some politically incorrect British poet from the turn of the twentieth century.

As a Patriots fan, I may be biased in thinking Bob Kraft knew nothing about this cheap marketing ploy, and will give who ever is responsible a good swift kick in the groin on their way out the door.

Exploiting a market focused on children in order to normalize an evolutionary dysfunctional behavior. What can possibly go wrong?

Homosexual behavior, whether born of natural or conscious effects, has no redeeming value to either society or humanity.

“Gay pride” should be an oxymoron. They certainly have the right to engage in purely self-indulgent behavior, but there is no legitimate reason to normalize it. Then there is the concern for a predisposition to communicate disease, which is inherent to the male homosexual behavior in particular, and has negative consequences for all individuals and society.

That said, the so-called “sexual revolution”, whether describing heterosexual promiscuity or an effort to normalize homosexual behavior, was an act of evolutionary sabotage.

It’s called voting with your dollars. I refused to buy Heinz products starting years ago. Now I will not buy Betty Crocker, Ben & Jerry’s, or shop at Gap or Target. Those companies can do without my hard earned dollars.

But what I did learn was that often the alternet brand is actually better, and cheaper. And if Oreo wants to reduce their sales by 98% and only cater to the 2%, well, perhaps they should start working on that Obama bail out now.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to retire05. | July 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Same here!!

    Benson II in reply to retire05. | July 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    You can add Home Depot to your list. They set up booths for children at Gay parades. Some of the goings on aren’t fit for adults let alone children. This according to the American Family Association. They also took Sears to task for their support of Gay marriage. If these companies want to forward a political agenda that’s fine with me but I also have the right to take my money elsewhere if I don’t agree with their agenda.

    el polacko in reply to retire05. | July 16, 2012 at 12:40 am

    hope you’re not posting your comments using any apple or microsoft products either then. if your animus toward gay citizens translates into boycotting any product from a company that is supportive of their gay customers and employees, then you will very soon find yourself sitting in the cold and dark, staring into the void.

DINORightMarie | July 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Under the guise of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” come so many thuggish things, ridiculous repercussions, it seems.

If you wear fur, you are a target for PETA; if you love the military/love the USA/wave the flag, you are a jingoistic uber-nationalist xenophobe; if you don’t toe the line for anything and EVERYTHING PC (gay rights, ant-Christian, pro-choice, “kids are more important than anything else ever & deserve to be given everything”, ” ___ (fill in the blank – eg. bullying) is the worst, worst, worst thing anyone ever experienced, ever!”, “evolution=good/creation=bad”, “education NEEDS more money”, “our ___ (you fill in the blank – e.g. teachers, doctors, nurses, manual laborers…) are the MOST important people in the world!,” etc. etc.) then you are a social pariah and exile……then you DESERVE to be a target of HATERS!!

Hush money or “protection” money is an….”investment”…… “Yeah, yeah! That’s it!! That’s the ticket!”

No. I say, “ENOUGH!!”

Time to speak up, speak out, fight back, and be heard!! We’re not called the *silent* majority for nothing!

Who was it who said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything” again? I believe Ronald Reagan said that a few times, quoting someone…..? 😉

When I entered a Borders about ten years ago I was greeted by sign, propped up on a stand so that no one could miss it, imploring (sorry, bullying) me to celebrate Gay Pride month. Never went back, and now there’s no back to go to. The insult is that the marketers know that it cuts both ways and don’t care, even in the face of the fact that an insulted customer is nearly impossible to recover.

TrooperJohnSmith | July 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm


But… around my house, we don’t buy products from places like this. I also let ’em know. For example, we won a 250-dollar gift ticket to Olive Garden in one of the school kid raffles. So, I informally auctioned it off at the drawing for 118 bucks and gave it to Wounded Warriors. Two other folks matched my donation, as well as my wife.

The left politicizes EVERYTHING.

Even Oreos. Sigh. I wouldn’t care except you can’t buy Hydrox anymore (at least not around here. Do they even still exist?).

Yes, it’s bullying but not over gay pride so much as the demand that everyone and everything MUST advance the Cause (whatever the leftist cause du jour is).

It’s not enough to make a great cookie. The cookie has to support the Cause too. No one is ever left alone. No company can just do business. No person can ever just eat cookies and be free.

I’m getting really riled about this! GIVE US BACK OUR COOKIES!

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to irv. | July 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I always liked Hydrox better. Sunshine cookies is owned by Kellogg’s and they stopped selling Hydrox in about 2003. Kellogg’s had a 100th anniversary edition of Hydrox (which predated Oreo) in 2008.

    Kraft also has a problem with their relationship with Senomyx additives…apparently Senomyx tests flavor additives using fetal cell lines….

SmokeVanThorn | July 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Add Home Depot to the list.

In St. Petersburg, FL in 2010, “[i]t set up a tent along the parade route, built a custom “gay pride float” on the bed of a company truck and waived the company’s dress policy by allowing employees to wear their Home Depot aprons, decorated with pro-gay buttons.”

It acted in a similar way in SF:

I’d like to see some open minded inclusiveness and tolerance from those leftwing wacko hypocrits for the people with political beliefs they are critical of for not being inclusive and tolerant.

I don’t buy Oreos, but if I did, I wouldn’t any longer. So, I can’t stop buying Oreos but I now have another reason why I don’t.

Remember when a cookie was just a small treat enjoyed after “quite time” at kindergarten…

    WarEagle82 in reply to WarEagle82. | July 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    er, “quiet time”

    theduchessofkitty in reply to WarEagle82. | July 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Besides, home-made is better.

    I can’t wait for an enterprising Tea Party mom out there to make cookies just as good or even better than Oreos – and then market them everywhere a Patriot is found.

    “You don’t stand for Liberal causes. Then why are you eating their crappy cookies?”

Maybe it’s time to call for taking the Oreo cookie off of the market because of how “Oreo” has come to be such an insulting racist slur. Maybe the Rainbow Oreo will similarly become an insulting anti-gay slur to refer to the Anderson Coopers who try to pass as effeminate but straight but are gay on the inside.

Add Hallmark Cards to your list of companies to avoid. They now have a graduation card with an anti-Tea Party message. The Spartanburg Tea Party site has the full story, with contact information for anyone who would like to send a word or two to Hallmark.

I’m not giving the Hallmark contact info here as I don’t want to deprive Spartanburg the benefit of a link. But I do think that we should all be sending Hallmark a “card” of our own. So please head over to the Spartanburg link and, well, you know what to do.

I don’t know what you all are so afraid of, why you are so filled with hate. You’re ridiculous and I’m sure Jesus must be so proud!

So, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE boycott away. That’s just one less bigot in the stores where we shop. We don’t need you. We don’t want you.

P.S. Grow Up!

    theduchessofkitty in reply to shle896. | July 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Your kind are the ones acting as bullies everywhere someone takes a stand for traditional marriage.

    Bullying people out of jobs or into silence. Harassing and intimidating people who just happen to be there with a cross or a Bible. People who just voice their opinion and that’s it. (Just look at Brad Pitt’s mom: even her own son won’t defend her because of pure cowardice.)

    And what about the people who have lost their careers, jobs, or businesses just for that? They just stated their opinion and then “POOF!” their jobs, careers and/or businesses are gone! Because YOUR KIND act like the Taliban on them!

    And what about the Mormons your kind have targeted for persecution because many supported Prop 8? What about the Evangelical Christian churches that now have to have security and even guns to protect the parishioners from people like YOU? And I don’t even have to mention Catholic parishes.

    And the Catholic adoption agencies that are now shut down because, with their backs against the wall, they were told “Give the kiddoes to gays, or you will face fines!” How many more Christian charities have to close shop because of your kind’s bullying and intimidation tactics, your extortion racket? All of them, if you have it your way…

    And now, even African-American parishioners in Maryland are being targeted because of their stand. Give it enough time and not a single congregation in the country that stands traditionally will be safe from your bullying kind. Not a single one. Pretty soon, the church signs will have an addendum, “MEMBERS ONLY”, just like country clubs with golf courses and reception halls. And you will want to shut those down, too. And just wait until you start going after the houses and the families of the parishioners, ministers or rabbis!

    All of this is happening or is about to happen in the land of the Free Exercise of Religion – a right the Founders defended with “Our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.” A right you seek to take away from us. (Don’t deny it! We know your endgame.)

    Yet YOU demand us to “grow up”… YOU call us “full of hate”! While the the flies sitting on your own face, the stench of your hypocrisy, can convert a nice Botanical Garden into the Fresh Kills Landfill!

    You want to see “Full of Hate”?

    Look in the mirror. Long and hard.

    And grow up!

      David in Houston in reply to theduchessofkitty. | July 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      “Catholic adoption agencies that are now shut down…”

      They were taking taxpayer money. The state has a non-discrimination policy. Catholic Charities could have kept excluding gays if they simply stopped using public funds. They chose not to do that, so they closed.

      In Colorado they were going to pass a civil union bill that gave exemptions to Catholic Charities. They said that they would still shut down even though they wouldn’t have to give children to gay couples. They were basically blackmailing the state into not passing the civil union bill. I think the word you’re looking for is “martyr”. They were willing to sacrifice their organization (and the children) to make sure gay people didn’t get any civil rights.

When my 5-year-old sees a picture of a rainbow, she thinks “wow!” When I see it, I think “gay”. I feel robbed of this way of reliving my childhood.
But regardless, who are Oreos trying to appeal to? Crunchy pro-gay marriage people would rather buy Oreo-like organic cookies.

good grief…companies have been celebrating pride month in their adverstising for years. i can recall an absolut vodka ad from twenty years ago that was very similar to this oreo image. i don’t know where you folks have been, but the world seems to have slipped past you. but please, go ahead…rage against the rainbow oreo but do know that it makes you look very, very foolish.

[…] The Age of Bully Marketing? Legal Insurrection  […]

David in Houston | July 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I had no idea that simply supporting gay rights was now considered a “contentious issue”. You’ve got General Mills saying that supporting discriminatory laws is a bad thing. You’ve got a rainbow Oreo cookie supporting gay rights. How exactly are these things harming anyone? — So when Chick-Fil-A comes out in support for “traditional” God-sanctioned marriage and families, they’re being inclusive?

When did supporting gay rights equal an attack on so-called “family values”? Why must gay people be discriminated against in order for straight families to be successful? I think the ideology goes something like this: 1. Gay people are considered equal members of society. 2. All sorts of bad things will happen. 3. Straight families will be destroyed, and children will be scarred for life.

How does an ad bully you? Especially one that doesn’t mention you or your sexual orientation? Are you saying that the Oreo is your exclusive cookie? The cookie of the heterosexual people? It’s a *freaking cookie*. There are no politics in baking, for Pete’s sake. Chill the freak out.

Umm, guys? Some of you seem to be thinking that only gay people support gay rights. This is either extreme stupidity or pathetic wishful thinking. The majority of Americans eventually come around to supporting equality, whether it is white people supporting the end of Jim Crow, men supporting women’s right to vote, straight Americans (your so-called 98%) supporting our gay compatriots.

And the day you start whining about a cookie being a bully, well, you’re definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel.