Sunday, January 28, 2007

Success! The First One. Borders Books

One of the criticisms launched against me is, "Those audio clips are old." Or "We apologized!"

Two things. First, some were "old" because those were the ones that I sent to the companies advertising at the time (see below). Second, not everyone apologized for everything (You mean KSFO cherry picked the clips they wanted to talk about on their three hour VERY SPECIAL PROGRAM and ignored others? That's unpossible!)

  • Do I really have to go back and play ALL the clips that the hosts DIDN'T apologize for? Because I can.

  • Must I demonstrate specifically how they were part of a long pattern of violent rhetoric including multiple instances from more than one host? Because I could.

  • Do I need to point out how they tried to explain away their own words using more parsing tricks than Ari Fleischer and Tony Snow combined? I might.

  • And maybe we might just take apart the dates and times of the "apologies" to see what really prompted them and just what they LEFT out that illustrates specifically why managment knew what the host said was the wrong. I probably will.

But first, here is an example of another company, Borders Books, following its own internal guidelines for the kind of shows they advertise on.

This response was my first indication that advertisers were in the dark as to what they were buying and why it was important to educate them so they could make an informed decision. As I learned later from someone at Mahatama Rice, often the advertisers thought they were simply getting a Disney affiliate (with the brand association that name implies), something, "family-friendly".

My letter to Borders referred to Sussman's own "War on Christmas" in which he asked listeners to call up and tell him about retail stores that used the more inclusive, "Happy Holidays" greeting rather than "Merry Christmas". If any listeners caught a clerk saying anything other than "Merry Christmas" he "outed them" live on the radio.

That is what the customer service manager was referring to in the response.

Borders Books Borders Customer Care < > to me
More options Dec 2 (3 days ago)

Dear Concerned Customer,

Michael Tam forwarded your email and asked that I respond, as I am the Customer Service Manager for Borders.

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding a Borders advertisement that recently ran during the Brian Sussman show on Talk Radio KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco.

As a company, Borders is absolutely apolitical and as such, we do not purchase advertising time during shows with primarily political content. Although our media purchasing guidelines reflect this policy, sometimes errors are made or station scheduling changes. As we did not intend for our ads to run during the program mentioned and, in keeping with our stated guidelines, all remaining spots scheduled during the Brian Sussman show have been canceled.

Borders believes in the basic right of our customers to choose what they want to listen to, read and buy. Our stores provide our patrons with a wide selection of products, and an environment in which they can explore, discover and enjoy what is of interest to them.

Additionally, we strive to create an inviting atmosphere in our stores that supports varying beliefs and holiday celebrations for both our customers and our staffs. We specifically communicate to our employees that during the holiday season they should use any holiday greeting they feel is appropriate when interacting with customers.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions or comments.


Customer Service Manager
Borders and Waldenbooks Customer Care

So from now on when I'm out buying items with my Visa or MasterCard I like to shop at Borders Books. I buy science fiction books, gift cards or books on the wonderful state of Michigan.

And just to point out some verification that I wasn't the only one who noted Sussman attacking retailers for their attempt to be inclusive, here is KSFO's own program summary from that week.

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Andy said...

Congratulations on the successes in your campaign to challenge the excesses of the hateful aspects of right-wing talk radio. I just saw an excellent piece on Al Jazeera International about your work. Keep it up,

Andy Watson, France

7:16 AM  
zerosumgame said...

Well, this was one of the reasons I only went to Boarders when desperate for something to read. Now I will feel more comfortable there. I do wish it were possible to have posted the CS managers name and e-mail, but I have little doubt he/she would be hate-bombed by the right-wingers. So I'll just send a general note to them :)

7:59 AM  
Squib aka TwistedOreo said...

Keep up the great work Spocko! By the way, more notoriety for you at the Columbia Journalism Review, although you may already have picked up on that one.

Link is here:


4:59 PM  
David S said...

My my! One would think that KFSO would want to save its own ass and lean heavy on Sussman & Morgan...

Although I give credit when and where its due, I'm still not entirely sure that MasterCard is worthy of extra business as a result of their dropping ads on that useless show.....

If MasterCard really wanted to make a difference, they'd lower the percentage rate they charge to their customers and create policies that reflect what would be best for the little guy and the industry...... you know, like a middle of the road kind of thing!

Not just for the industry!

5:23 AM  
miqrogroove said...

Borders is awesome. It's based in my home town of Ann Arbor, and seems like a very open-minded business. I had mixed feelings when they merged with Amazon, but the stores are still a place I can get lost in all day.

This blog is fun reading but I was hoping to find quick links to the controversial audio clips. A shortcut would be appreciated.


5:31 PM  
microdot said...

It's really grand to check in here once in a while and see the actual real success you are having. This is empowering and inspiring all of us!
My first video embed ever on my blog was the Dan McEnroe "Wrath of Spocko"
and I felt like a genius being able to do it!
I have a graphic called Blogpower on my blog. I'll try to send it to you.

9:26 AM  
libhom said...

As obnoxious and offensive as they were, ABC/Disney's legal tactics seem to have made your efforts far more sucessful.

I'm glad to see corporate fascism backfire.

12:55 PM  

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