Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is ProFlowers ProTorture? KSFO hosts tie your brand to torture

Mark Sottosanti, Senior Vice President of New Business Initiatives and Marketing,
Provide Commerce

I'm not sure if I made myself clear last week on the phone. The radio hosts of KSFO are tainting the ProFlowers brand. Let me explain how.

KSFO hosts, Brian Sussman and Lee Rodgers, are currently reading your ProFlower ads for Mother's day. Sussman audio wma audio mp3; Rodgers audio wma audio mp3

These hosts have a history of making horrific comments including violent rhetoric directed towards liberals, democrats, journalists and Muslims. They are unrepentant in their calls to torture and kill people. (Listen to Lee Rodgers NOT apologizing for calling for attaching electrodes to the testicles of Kevin Holder, a criminal in Lincoln Nebraska, before he suggests that we "blow his bleeping brains out." (audio wma ) Remember, Rodgers is acting as your spokesman to the San Francisco Bay area.Bold
KSFO hosts Proudly Pro Torture for Years
They are pro torture and have been for years.

  • Brian Sussman from 2005, 'You know me, I'm pro-torture". They have sick fantasies about torturing people. (audio wma)
  • Sussman from 2005 talking about cutting off the finger then the penis of a Iraqi.
    (audio wma)
  • Sussman from 2009 talking about blowing off the kneecaps of someone during an interrogation. (audio wma)
  • Torture jokes. Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan joking about waterboarding employees of rival station KGO from last Thursday, April 23, 2009. Audio wma Audio mp3

I find their views repugnant, but I'm not paying them to associate with my product. You are. Question: Is ProFlowers ProTorture? If so, Brian Sussman and Lee Rodgers are ideal spokesmen.

Next week, when more photos of Americans torturing comes out, please remember that these hosts are FOR the acts of torture shown in those photos.

ProFlowers parent company, Provide Commerce was voted one of the best places to work in California and in San Diego. Your motto, "finding a better way to do it" is interesting. Your business proposition, connecting consumers with growers, makes sense but your ads bank on the listener's relationship with the hosts. That's swell but it it also puts your brand under the control of the people who are selling your product. Ask Nike what happened when its spokesperson, Michael Vick, came to represent a repugnant act like dog fighting.

You won an award for being a great place to work. I'm guessing that you don't threaten to torture people.

The ProFlowers brand experience on KSFO: Listeners hearing horrific comments about torturing people by cutting off fingers and penises and then hearing that exact same KSFO radio host exhorting listeners to buy flowers for Mother's day.
Is that the brand link you want? Is a joke about simulated death by drowning better?

Some people hate their mother. They may decide to purchase flowers for their Mother after hearing about torture. If reaching that demographic is the goal of your advertising on KSFO you have succeeded.

I want to make it clear that I'm not objecting to the discussion of the topic, what I find offensive is their support of a repugnant act. These hosts are NOT having a discussion about torture as part of an intelligent debate like you might hear on the Rachel Maddow show. Also, you are not the Government. By removing your paid financial support you are not limiting their speech, you are simply exercising your right to spend your marketing dollars in ways that more closely match your own corporate guidelines. The "we don't support torture" guidelines that most companies have in their bylaws.

Listen to KSFO's "Officer Vic" Imitating President Obama Having Anal Sex with Michelle Obama
Additionally this is not the only horrific comments from these hosts. Listen to traffic and weather reporter Officer Vic doing an imitation of President Obama having anal sex with his wife via "the port entry" or "the tunnel" and then using sound effects to make sure we all get the image. (audio wma).

If you decided to pull your ads from the Brian Sussman and Lee Rodgers' show "Officer Vic" would be reading the ads. The news and weather isn't even a safe place for your ads.

KSFO's Sussman attacks Advertisers who Support Same Sex Marriage
I also don't want to presume that there are any gay people in the floral industry because that might be playing into some stereotypes. But I would think that you would want to provide flowers for all occasions to people of all sexual orientations. To do otherwise would be bad for business. A gay marriage would require as many flowers as a straight one.

Brian Sussman didn't like that Pacific Gas & Electric stood up for their employee's civil rights when it came to same sex marriage. He went on the air telling people how to get their gas from other suppliers. (audio wma mp3) Brian Sussman will use your support of the equal rights of your employees against you on his show and actively tell people how to buy products from your competitors.

Mark, I wanted you to know what you are getting into when you advertise on this station. These hosts are not like the others you have reading your commercials. You could ignore my letter but "finding a better way to do it" means having more and better information about the people selling your products. I hope you will choose to disassociate yourself from these people. Who you choose to associate with and how and where you advertise your product says something about you and your company. Please don't choose people who are pro torture.

I encourage you or your agency to listen to the overall content of these shows, I'm confident you will quickly determine the multiple ways the hosts of KSFO are tainting your brand. They currently have a 7 day archive you can listen to at their website.

If you want to call the the sales manager and alert her to your desire to go another direction with your ads, contact Deidra Lieberman- Director of Sales for KSFO. Her email is her number is 415-954-8118.

Anna Hansen, Senior Vice President of Consumer Insights and Service
Penny Handscomb, Vice President Human Resources
Kent Olson, Vice President, Website

Updated4-28-2009 to correct link, phrasing.


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