22 November, 2012

PR Rule Number One: Don't Make Your Customers Feel Guilty By Drawing Attention To Your Employees' Low Wages And Lack of Healthcare

There's been a new development in the case of Pap John Schnatter's attempt to monetize his hatred of President Obama. There was customer blow back. And probably a lot of employee blowback. I'll get to that in a moment but, due to blowback, Papa John Schnatter had to "walk back" his comments about ObamaCare and his threats to cut employee hours to make them ineligible for ObamaCare and to raise pizza prices to pay for ObamaCare.

Oh, and Denny's franchisee, John Metz, who owns about 40 Denny's restaurants in the Deep South more or less denounced by Denny's headquarters which issued a statement distancing  Denny's from the anti-ObamaCare comments of their big franchise owner.

I'm sure right about now both Denny's Metz and Papa John Schnatter are wondering why Chick-Fil-A's Dan Cathy was able to garner huge profits from his anti-gay donations and comments and subsequent denunciation by Obama ally, Rahm Emanuel.

Both Schnatter and Metz must be wondering why Chick-Fil-A's Cathy made money from his hatred of Obama and the things Obama stands for - like gay rights - and why they, Schnatter and Metz, caught crap for trying to monetize Obama hatred. I know the answer.

Schnatter and Metz made their customer's feel guilty for doing business at Denny's and Papa John's. That's right, by drawing attention to their employees' lack of healthcare, Schnatter and Metz committed the unpardonable sin: they reminded their customers that every time they do business with Papa John Schnatter and John Metz' Denny's franchises, their food is being prepared and delivered by people without healthcare or a living wage, people who can't afford to have their hours cut and people who are one major health problem away from bankruptcy.

WalMart is making a similar mistake. By fighting employees' attempts at gaining collective bargaining, higher wages and better healthcare, WalMart is reminding WalMart customers about the high human cost of low prices.

Man, WalMart, Metz and Papa John Schnatter have a lot to learn from Dan Cathy about how to monetize their hatred of Obama. Cathy was smart enough not to draw attention to his employees' low wages or lack of healthcare and he even got an Obama ally to publicly attack him and his company as not having the right values to get a license to open a Chick-Fil-A in Chicago.

No, I'm not calling for a boycott of WalMart, Pap John's or the John Metz Denny's franchises but before the next fast food titan tries to monetize Obama hatred by drawing attention to your employees' low wages and lack of healthcare, think of this: the customers you depend on for your riches are being served by employees who now know for sure that you don't give a damn about them and if it's true that happy employees give great customer service might it also be true that unhappy employees might give lousy customer service?

Yeah, that Dan Cathy at Chick-Fil-A is a genius. He managed to monetize his hatred of Obama by NOT drawing attention to non-existent healthcare and low wages. Why? He didn't make his customers feel guilty for enriching Cathy And he got an Obama ally to publicly denounce him.

I've always said if you want to get famous or make some money just get the right enemy to publicly attack you. It worked for Chick-Fil-A whose bigoted Deep South customer base came out in droves to buy chicken in sympathy with Cathy who was denounced by Rahm Emanuel.

For more on the genius or Dan Cathy's monetization of his hatred for Obama and Obama's values, see my 27 July 2012 post (in the archives).
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