I hate to be negative, but that's part of life too, of course. My general goal is to try to be negative for as short a period of time as possible and then move on, leaving negativity in the dust. So, allow me this negative-centric post please.
I picked up my copy of House Beautiful, turned back the cover and what shouts out at me in a double page ad but a picture of Gilda Radner with a big smile on her face (on the right side of the ad.) Quite honestly, I wasn't sure if it was an old image of her or a look-alike. I haven't given Gilda Radner a thought in I don't know how long, although she was one of my favorites.
Basically, Armstrong Flooring used Gilda Radner (look alike or real) to compare real wood floors to laminate (fake) wood flooring. I think comparing a beloved (by many) well known deceased person to a fake wood flooring material is misguided at best.
Here are some of the things I object to in this campaign:
- This woman died at a young age
- She truly suffered (intense physical and emotional pain) in her fight to live
- It's not all that long ago that she died, an important factor
- It's a huge corporate ad campaign
- No mention, having used her celebrity persona as the center of this campaign, of donating money to ovarian cancer causes for the privilege of using her perpetual celebrity influence
- Gilda Radner touched countless millions of people in her professional life and private struggle, earning immense good will, and this "capital" is being used for purposes of commerce
- Does Armstrong understand, as this campaign is widely viewed, how hurt a large number of people will be, as they suffer through ovarian cancer or remember the suffering their loved ones endured?
That's really all I need to know. For me, it was an immediate, strong, negative reaction upon seeing the ad. There WAS only one Gilda Radner, as Armstrong notes.
End of negativity for today! All comments, no matter what they are, are welcome.
One more note. Armstrong, I would ask that you put out a press release with your intention to donate money to Ovarian Cancer causes in recognition of Gilda Radner being the center of this campaign. I'll report on that with pleasure.
UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2009:
Here is what I received on October 12 from Armstrong's PR agency:
"Armstrong Flooring is partnering with retailers Abbey Carpet & Floor and Floors To Go for a national consumer sales event Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, 2009 to benefit Gilda’s Club Worldwide, a non-profit cancer support organization founded in memory of beloved comedian Gilda Radner. Armstrong will contribute $.10 to Gilda’s Club for every square foot of material a consumer purchases through Abbey or Floors To Go Sept. 15 through Nov. 15. So, if a consumer purchases 1,000 square feet of Armstrong's laminate flooring, Armstrong will donate $100 to Gilda’s Club. Armstrong has guaranteed Gilda’s Club a minimum $30,000 donation."
I'm very pleased to see this development. Thank you Armstrong for stepping up!