Wendy’s Canada made social awareness a solid by changing Wendy’s Logo with a gray-haired Wendy in support of Lisa Laflamme’s firing by Bell for allegedly letting her hair go gray.
The good people behind Wendy’s social media account dragged Bell Media, owners of CTV, and CTV/Bell hit back today with the most pathetic excuse of a passive-aggressive hit piece you’ll ever see.
To recap, Bell media fired Lisa two weeks ago, and the excuses range from “we had no idea you’d react this way” to “She stopped coloring her gray hair.”
Twenty-four hours after showing their displeasure for Bell’s seemingly ageist/sexist decision, Bell hit back by publishing a piece from an anonymous ghostwriter about why it’s terrible for brands like Wendy’s to take a stance on social issues.
And it’s fucking hilarious.
— Dean Blundell🇨🇦 (@ItsDeanBlundell) August 26, 2022
CP24 LOL:Marketing experts say brands that have advertised themselves with a nod to CTV National News host Lisa LaFlamme’s recent dismissal should beware of blowback.
Companies that integrate news moments into their branding run the risk of being seen as opportunistic and should prepare for added scrutiny from customers and employees when they take a stand on hot-button issues, said retail analyst Bruce Winder.
“No one’s perfect, right? Every brand has skeletons in the closet…and this does very much open them up to scrutiny… so you better make sure your house is in order, before you start throwing this out there,” he said.
“There could be some blowback, if there’s anything hidden in the closets as it relates to anything both companies have done, so it’s a real high-risk move.”
Winder’s remarks come after fast-food chain Wendy’s changed the profile photo on its Canadian Twitter account Thursday to its mascot bearing grey hair instead of her usual red locks.
The tweet reads “because a star is a star regardless of hair colour,” using two star emojis, and includes LaFlamme’s name in a hashtag.
Media reports have tied LaFlamme’s ouster from Bell Media to her decision to stop dying her hair during the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Dove Canada alluded to LaFlamme’s dismissal after 35 years with the network in a campaign called Keep the Grey that proclaimed “age is beautiful” and said, “women should be able to do it on their own terms, without any consequences.”
Dove never referenced LaFlamme in its campaign, which donated $100,000 to women’s advocacy organization Catalyst and encouraged others to turn their profile photos to grey-scale.
Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment, nor did Bell Media.
However, Winder felt the Wendy’s campaign was “probably a little shallow.” Dove’s, he said, was “deeper and more serious.”
“But still, both brands look a little bit opportunistic, like they’re taking advantage of what’s hot this week and what’s topical this week, and it looks like they’re trying hard,” he said.
Meanwhile, Joanne McNeish felt Wendy’s campaign didn’t make much sense because the brand has never been associated with ageism or grey hair.
“With Wendy’s, it’ll just sink like a stone,” said the associate professor of marketing at Toronto Metropolitan University.
“It doesn’t cost them much to give it a go, but they could have been so much more clever in how they did it.”
However, she noted Dove has long been linked to those topics and has run campaigns on greying hair for 15 years.
“These campaigns work the best when there’s a relationship and a foundation for the work you’re doing and the cause you’re supporting,” she said.
But associating a brand with any buzzy news story has both risks and rewards, she warned.
Companies can easily generate attention for their brands that can translate into sales, when a campaign really resonates with customers, but such ads also open firms up to a new level of examination.
“There is actually a real art form in understanding how to respond to these situations because sometimes these are really wonderful bonus situations where you get a big push in awareness, and maybe some sales, or they can be devastating if you find out something later or there’s another piece of the issue that wasn’t as clear to you,” McNeish said.
Companies need look no further than Pepsi to see the risks, Winder added.
The soda giant made a 2017 ad featuring model and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” star Kendall Jenner joining a protest and defusing tensions by handing a police officer a Pepsi.
Many saw the ad as trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement.
“So it’s very high risk,” Winder said. “It may resonate (and be) very popular for certain people, and certain people may see it as opportunistic and a little bit sleazy.”
Companies who take the risk have to be quick and tie themselves to the moment before it’s left the zeitgeist or other brands have beat them to it, McNeish said.
“There’s only room for a few to really get the big reward for being associated… so that’s why you need to be ready to jump on these situations.”
CP24 is a division of Bell Media – who fired Lisa Laflamme.
The dirty business of being one of two major news outlets in Canada.
They can’t even do this right.
What amazes me about Bell and Rogers is how fucking petty they are when it comes to protecting their brand/money. The fallout from Lisa’s firing is a financial stress headache from hell for the rats who haven’t jumped or been pushed off Bell’s boat.
The only recourse they have for years of abusing the privilege of the people who worked there is to co-opt a story without a byline about how “dangerous” it is for money to affect their money. and reputation.
The receipts of Bell’s abuse of employment law and human beings are in the thousands, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeve that doesn’t align with being accountable.
That story, widely shared mostly from Bell properties, is a passive-aggressive warning meant to scare/make potential partners think before they take a position against bad actors in Canadian media.
I'll think I'll treat myself to Wendy's this weekend… and watch as Bell digs itself deeper and deeper… pic.twitter.com/G9goa9oo47
— Daniel Giverin 🇺🇦 (@DanielGiverin) August 26, 2022
Almost a good read, until you hit the last line….
“CP24 is a division of Bell Media.”
Completely undermines the entire article.
— Freeders (@officialdjfreed) August 26, 2022
Classic, Bell. They can’t even defend themselves like a proper business.