Hoover Sucks Up to Soap Fans, Cancels Ads on ABC

by | April 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Deep Soap

(Hoover)

(Hoover)

Disgruntled ABC soap fans have a new ally in their fight to stop the cancellation of long-running daytime soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live“: Hoover vacuum cleaners.  Monday afternoon, Hoover vice president of marketing Brian Kirkendall posted this note on the company’s Facebook page stating that the company disagreed with ABC’s decision to replace its soaps with talk and reality programs and would be pulling all of its advertising — both daytime and primetime — from the network beginning April 22nd. The note reads, in part:

To all the loyal ABC soap fans,

I want you to know from me personally that we hear you loud and clear. My wife and mother are both passionate viewers of All My Children and One Life to Live, as are many of my colleagues here at Hoover. We were and are as disappointed with this news as you are.

In fact, we will discontinue our advertising with ABC this Friday, 4/22. We’re making every attempt to pull our spots from these programs sooner.

Because we feel that’s not enough, we also want to help get your voice heard with ABC. So, we’ve set up a special email address, SaveTheSoaps@Hoover.com, to help pull together the mass emotional outpouring of support for our beloved ABC soaps and get it to our contacts at ABC. Please, send your emails to us at SaveTheSoaps@Hoover.com, and we’ll get every, single last one of them to ABC.

Within hours, the note went viral. Hundreds of fans wrote messages of support on the company’s wall, pledging to buy Hoover vacuum cleaners.  Viewers took to Twitter to strategize about getting more companies to withdraw their advertisements from the network. ABC issued a response to TV Guide stating, “Usually advertisers stop advertising when they want to cancel a show, not the other way around. We’ve said that the cancellation of AMC and OLTL was about money and ratings, so [the Hoover boycott] is just counterintuitive. You don’t save something by taking money away.”

Watch Kelly Ripa’s Reaction To The Double Cancellation:

Hoover’s advertising strategy that would impress “Mad Men’s” Don Draper. It just got a ton of free publicity. Every entertainment website is covering this story. It costs nothing to post a message on Facebook or set up an e-mail account. Hoover instantly built a relationship with millions of consumers. No matter what happens next, Hoover will forever be thought of as a company that cares about its customers concerns, even if those concerns have nothing to do with vacuum cleaners. It also saved all the money it was spending buying ad time on ABC.

This is a new twist on typical campaigns to save a show. Fan campaigns are usually in support of low rated shows that are on the verge of cancellation. For example, “Chuck” fans purchased Subway sandwiches to thank the sandwich chain for sponsoring the show. Their efforts helped persuade NBC to greenlight another season of the cult favorite. In this case, ABC has already canceled their soaps. ABC Daytime President Brian Frons told The Wrap that fans should not bother to campaign on behalf of the shows saying, “…We’re at a point with these two shows, as much as they’ve done for the network, and as much as we appreciate them — their time here has come to an end.” ABC soap viewers recently persuaded “General Hospital” to rehire actress Becky Herbst after the show decided to write off the character of Liz Weber. A network of empowered, activist fans already existed, and, with nothing to lose, they decided to fight a much bigger battle.

By getting brands to pull their advertisements from ABC, viewers are hurting the network financially. If the soaps get reinstated, the advertising dollars return. It remains to be seen whether any other companies will join Hoover, or if the brands that leave will actually impact the network’s bottom line. But it does, ironically, prove that ABC’s research was right about something. Frons told Entertainment Weekly, “There’s a lot of desire for information on the part of our audience. They want… things that they could use in their lives.” Many soap plots involve people plotting to take over or destroy companies. It seems that decades of watching the machinations of Erica Kane, Adam Chandler and Clint Buchanan taught viewers how to fight a major corporation.

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