The More Important Question: Which Sponsors are STILL With Paula Deen?

The More Important Question: Which Sponsors are STILL With Paula Deen?

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Paula Deen is a perfect case study in how to properly and successfully destroy your brand identity in less than 2 weeks. When celebrities get in trouble for various acts, Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, and Alec Baldwin for example, they usually realize fairly quickly that the best option is to explain away their behavior, get some ‘help’ and resurrect their career down the road. Deen has continued to dig a hole for herself, first by obviously lying to the public, claiming in a deposition she said n***er all the time then claiming on the Today Show she only said it once. Then she has compounded things by playing the victim to the public, as opposed to feigning ignorance or seeking to make amends. But while much of the press attention has been on the sponsors and money that she has lost, it’s actually more interesting to see which sponsors she has not managed to lose despite this scandal.

Deen’s food empire is estimated to be worth about 17 million dollars, although a great deal of that money likely comes from her relationships with sponsors who have dropped her faster than a hot potato smothered in a quart of butter. The Food Network already announced her show will not be renewed, Sears, Home Depot and QVC have all dropped her as well. Some of Dean’s supporters will claim this is a witch-hunt or political correctness run amuck but that is just right wing nonsense probably induced by sugar shock from one of Paula’s pancake recipes. The harsh reality is that sponsors think long and hard before signing someone to promote their brand and they think long and hard about dropping them as well. Behind the scenes, corporations conduct their own investigations whenever charges are filed or a scandal erupts around a celebrity to determine if the scandal has any legs and will cause long term financial problems or it’s simply a 48 hour news story that people will forget about. Anyone who believes that a corporation as large as Wal-Mart would drop Paula Deen based purely on accusations doesn’t know much about business. But what does that say about the corporations that still support her?

The biggest name in the #StandWithPaula list is Alice Travel. A small travel agency based in New Jersey that book the cook for short cruises and has seen such an increase in requests to see the chef that they actually added a new cruise for 2014. This ultimately is not the surprising, when celebrities or well known people get taken down by their own terrible behavior there is always a lemmings-like rush by their supporters (and those bandwagon supporters) to come to their aid. This is especially the case in race or culture cases. Conservatives are always claiming an oppressed status, and flock to support anyone who they think is being attacked by the liberal PC gestapo (Notice how suddenly you had conservatives declaring their love for Chik-Fil-A in a tit for tat to the chain’s anti-gay backlash.)  Other prominent supporters who are still on #TeamPaula include Landies Candies and of course Epicurean butter. I don’t blame these companies for staying with her, but the fact that these companies sent out statements in support of Paula Deen (as opposed to just quietly not dropping her in hopes that this blows over) speaks volumes about where those companies are compared to Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Sears. No one has ever heard of Alice Travel, most Americans aren’t necessarily familiar with Landies Candies, and Epicurean Butter is a specific brand of butter likely known only to foodies or fans of Deen. In other words, they have nothing to lose if they stick with Paula Deen because supporting her probably brings them more publicity than they could ever garner by dropping her.

Ultimately I could care less as whether Paula Deen is a racist, or a good person or what is in her likely highly strained heart. She was a terrible boss who allowed a hostile racial and sexual work environment to exist right under her nose and did nothing about. That’ll get you in trouble whether you’re Paula Deen or the night manager at a strip mall Applebee’s. And for most major corporations despite their own potentially shady management practices, they were smart enough to realize that being associated with a failing brand is not smart business. Those who stay with Paula aren’t major corporations, and they’ve realized that when nobody knows your name, all press is good press. And to be honest, I don’t blame them for that either. 

8 COMMENTS

  1. I am sorry but we used to be a nation that for forgave people for past mistakes. That is until our social progressive institutions chanted for the death of Christianity as a basis for morality and social behavior. That cast the first stone phrase is telling on our current political correctness.

    If I remember correctly the Rev. Jesse Jackson once spoke of spitting into the food of white people, but we somehow found a way to forgive and look to the future. But now we are in the future, and we are castigating a person for honesty on remarks from 30 years past. Do you not think that is hypocritical?

    As for corporate culture I am not sure you have the credentials to make the proclamation of how business is run. This is nothing but fear of political correctness and hidden agendas by activists. You certainly know that, don’t you?

  2. “Then she has compounded things by playing the victim to the public, as opposed to feigning ignorance or seeking to make amends.” I don’t think she was feigning ignorance, she literally “can’t tell what offends people”. Her own words.

    Mike, you do realize that this is not about a word Paula said in the past, it’s about current allegations of racist and sexual harassment in her restaurant, right? Paula herself has admitted that this happened and she looked the other way.

  3. Interesting that I had to read a poorly written article to find out that after being a registered Democrat for almost 41 years I’m now a right winger and a conservative. Coming from a very racially diverse family and one that includes those of various sexual orientations I would never support the use of any word that offends and is used to offend others. I do feel though that she has been treated unfairly by the press. She admitted that the “n” word was something she commonly used in the past but that in more recent years she did not. She admitted to repeating gay jokes told to her by gays. She apologized but according to the media her apology was falling on deaf ears but then it would if presented by in a way that would all but guarantee that result.

    Numerous media outlets made a huge story of was her wish to have black men dress as slaves for her brothers wedding. When I read that I was confused as to how having black men dress in tuxedos was equated with slavery. She never stated anything of the kind. She was in a black owned restaurant where the waiters, all of whom were black men, were dressed in tuxedo’s and she stated that she thought they looked elegant and very professional. Apparently thanks to the fact that virtually every movie in which a plantation exists there is a black man answering the door in a tuxedo we now have the most blithering of idiots in all branches of the media thinking this nonsense was really how it was. Well, of course, being so cool and dry down south it stands to reason that the plantation owner would make sure the slaves who answered the door were appropriately attired in better clothing than he wore himself. Evidently those who started this ridiculous nonsense failed to comprehend that rent-a-tux did not exist at that time. Everyday clothing was made by the women of the plantation, both slave and white and that clothing for special occasions required a tailor and/or seamstress neither of which came cheaply.

    I do not support the fact that she used foul language in describing others nor do I support her allowing sexual and racial harassment to take place at her restaurant but I don’t support blatant bs either.

    While I wouldn’t exactly call what’s happening a witch hunt, Jason, I’m quite capable of comprehending when the media is weaving the story to suite their own purposes.

  4. Qué ventajosa choque este apartado acerca de promociones outlet mango. Esto es una manifestación de que hacia entender mejor estos temas se ha de haber un regla de investigación oportuno, aforo de escritura que obtenga ser de fácil comprensión inconveniente sin derribar en la estupidez, y conjuntamente de uno esto que consiga ser una vía permanente de sugestión. Mis obediencias hacia su labor y que prolonguen así.

  5. Thank you for the names of the businesses that dropped Paula Deen due to media pressure. I will be dropping them due to lack of integrity, which I believe omitting your past mistakes is a sign of.

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