Predictably, many in marketing and advertising ridiculed those who have complained to Dunkin Donuts about Rachel Ray donning the keffiyeh, a highly controversial symbol of Palestinian resistance. Read the comments over at AdPulp to get a taste of how marketers and advertisers have reacted.
I have yet to see a reporter or blogger take on the real issue here. Which is how and why this ad saw the light of day. Margie Myers, senior VP-communications for Dunkin' Brands, said in a statement. "Absolutely no symbolism was intended". If Margie really means this, and she is the one responsible for green-lighting the ad, then I hope somebody at Dunkin Donuts is asking her some pretty stiff questions about how this happened and how she intends to keep it from happening again.
TO BE VERY CLEAR - I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH MARKETERS ALIGNING WITH POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL CAUSES. As long as it is done above board and by request or with permission of the client or executive team. On the flip side I have very little use for activist marketers using enterprise brands to make their own personal political statement.
As I stated yesterday I've written extensively about activist marketers and the damage they do to their brands. Oprah is finding her Obama activism is costing her ratings, JetBlue got stung by somebody on their marketing team advocating their personal political agenda. Google had a recent brush with Michael Moore supporters, and Laurie David demonstrates celebrity hijacking with her potential impact on Prius.