Any Mentor Corporations for Chick-fil-A?

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    Aug 02, 2012 2:59 PM GMT
    I'm still in the let-them-die-on-the-vine crowd (no legitimate need to save a fried chicken sandwich maker), but if CFA ever got around to looking somewhere for a PR turnaround, how about Coors?

    2011GLBT_LesbianCoorsLight2-600x797.jpg

    So many love the "Silver Bullet" ads these days, and take Coors Light for granted, but there was a time (still is, in a few circles) where consumption of any Coors product was verboten in minority communities.

    HRC has a good essay (from I think around 2002, posted below) on how "Coors the company" effectively extricated itself (and more explicitly, it's profits from sales) from the conservative often-anti-LGBT foundations the Coors family love to support. If they ever want to get their sh*t together, CFA could do something similar, by making the beleaguered WinShape Foundation a "Dan Cathy" thing and not a "Chick-fil-A" thing (stopping promotional activity of WinShape functions at CFA restaurants would be a first step that makes way too much sense). Are there some other good examples out there?

    HRC (circa 2002?)Coors Print Campaign Reframes Longstanding Issues
    by Michael Wilke

    While the age-old gay boycott against Coors Brewing Co. lives on for some, others aren't sure if the brand should still be avoided. A new print campaign from Coors attempts once again to turn the conversation to its gay-positive policies.

    Titled "Real History," the ad features a triangle with a list of the company's gay rights accomplishments including: adopting an inclusive non-discrimination policy in 1978, adding same-sex partner health benefits in 1995 and other milestones. Another ad to appear in January will feature six openly gay employees.

    The educational effort will be informally tracked by word-of-mouth, with hopes to grow the brand's estimated tiny 2%-3% share in the gay market's competitive beer category.

    The brewer has been working hard to turn things around for years. Coors' first gay market effort began in 1997, with an ad that similarly touted its gay employee benefits called "Perception isn't always reality" and it soon sponsored gay events too. In 2000 a slightly controversial ad referenced Grant Wood's 1930 iconic painting "American Gothic" but featured two contemporary gay men, and in 2001 another starred openly gay Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes.

    Mary Cheney, the daughter of vice president Dick Cheney, previously served as the gay community liaison from 1994-2000, and now Rafael Fantauzzi fills the role. Fantauzzi arrived in January after 10 years of managing Hispanic community relations for American Airlines. He is part of a staff of 11 dedicated to serving Hispanic, African-American, Asian, women, Native American and Jewish concerns. Fantauzzi and Scott Coors, the openly gay son of Coors' vice-chairman, have begun to try to reframe the issues.

    Some Activists Continue to Urge Decades-Old Boycott

    The roots of Coors' robust community relations department grew out of a broader Coors boycott that goes back to the early 1970s, when unions first organized their own boycott and charged the brewer with racism, sexism and homophobia -- including lie-detector tests asking if employees were homosexual. Following the 1960 murder of Adolph Coors III, polygraph tests were conducted by a security firm in the 1970s and '80 but Coors spokesman Kevin Caulfield says sexuality questions were never asked, calling them an "absolutely false" myth.

    While the union boycott ended in 1987 and coalitions have been formed with Hispanic and African-American groups, the company remains dogged by gay activists. Recent ads run in local gay newspapers from the LGBT committee of the National Lawyers Guild still urge a boycott, citing Coors family leadership at conservative groups including the Heritage, Free Congress and Castle Rock foundations.

    But Coors says there is no relationship between the brewery and the foundations. "There are continued attempts to mix our record with other things that have nothing to do with the company. We as a company will only address those issues relevant to us a company, and not the foundations," Fantauzzi says. "We've been held to a different standard."

    Remarkably, though Coors wants to win over the gay community, it still stumbles in directly discussing the family's prominent role in conservative organizations, claiming no relationship to or little knowledge of family members' politics -- the longtime sticking points.

    The Heritage Foundation lists Joseph Coors as its founder and Holland Coors as trustees, but neither has positions with the brewer. The Free Congress Foundation is chaired by Jeffrey Coors, who is president of a separate business, Graphic Packaging International, which supplies packaging to the brewer.

    The Castle Rock Foundation is guided by trustees Peter Coors, the brewer's current chairman, and William K., the vice chairman, along with non-company family members Jeffrey and Holland. Sally Rippey, Castle Rock's executive director, says the group is "trying to be neutral" in what it funds, avoiding hot-button issues like abortion, assisted suicide and gay rights, but still makes contributions of $200,000 to the Heritage Foundation and smaller grants to other conservative organizations.


    Defining Conservative vs. Anti-Gay Organizations

    Yet while the groups are right of center, some ask if it's enough reason to punish Coors, especially when so many companies have political ties. "We need to separate conservative groups from those who actively conquer gay rights, like the Traditional Values Coalition," notes Bob Witeck, of Witeck-Combs Communications in Washington DC, which has guided Coors' gay relations. "And we need an even playing field -- if we're going to challenge Coors, then we need to ask the rest of corporate America what conservative groups they support, because many of them do it."

    By accepting major contributions from Coors, the Human Rights Campaign and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have generated controversy in recent years but also signaled growing acceptance. In its just-released Corporate Equality Index on company gay friendliness, HRC gave Coors an impressive 86 rating out of 100, compared to 57 for Miller Brewing Co. and 43 for Anheuser-Busch.

    Ultimately, gay consumers must decide if Coors' LGBT-friendly policies -- which surpass many corporations -- outbalances its numerous family members' involvement with conservative organizations not directly funded by Coors sales (the foundations even got rid of their Coors stocks in 1997).

    Coors and others have learned the hard way that even when working hard to win the gay market, memories are lasting, politics remain important and consistency counts.


    *Side notes: Coors Brewing Company now markets through MillerCoors, a joint venture formed with Miller Brewing back in 2008. They merged with Molson Brewing of Canada back in 2005.
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    Aug 02, 2012 3:08 PM GMT
    CoorsLight_GayAd.jpg

    Another ad. I doubt it's the ads themselves that turned things around for Coors, but getting enough attention to what they are doing corporately that did the trick. (Note the 2011 HRC "Best Places to Work" in the bottom corner of this ad). I suspect being a publicly-traded company** (unlike CFA) makes a huge difference as well.

    **EDIT - A correction, as MillerCoors the joint venture isn't publicly traded, but Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing are publicly traded.

    MillerCoors still catches hell for marketing missteps (The "Man Up!" ads were the latest blunders I recall), but they've introduced corporate mechanisms that at least look at what they're doing and try to take constructive steps to retract or redress, unlike CFA who, with apologies to KFC, prefers to "Double Down."
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    Aug 02, 2012 5:04 PM GMT
    As clarification, I'm not expecting CFA to ever be in a position to market its products to LGBT communities. So much of our socializing has been centered around the bar/club scene and Coors Brewing realized eventually they could not afford to lose even more market share to the Anheuser-Busches of the world simply because their own founder and much of his family were on the rabid end of the right-wing scale.

    There are ample "gay bars" and no "gay chicken sandwich joints" that I'm aware of. Even so, Coors took a proactive effort to, in their words, "reframe" the company mission and policies, and in the process arguably salvaged the company's prospects for long-term growth. CFA could learn a thing from these folks.
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    Aug 02, 2012 5:16 PM GMT
    Business week says Marriott


    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-26/god-and-gay-marriage-what-chick-fil-a-could-learn-from-marriott
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    Aug 02, 2012 5:38 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidBusiness week says Marriott


    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-26/god-and-gay-marriage-what-chick-fil-a-could-learn-from-marriott


    That's a good one. Because of their Mormon ties, they took a lot of heat before and after Prop 8. From the article:

    Bill Marriott via Business Week“Our church is very much opposed to alcohol and we’re probably one of the biggest sales engines of liquor in the United States. I don’t drink. We serve a lot of liquor. You’re in business. You’ve got to make money,” he said. “We have to appeal to the masses out there, no matter what their beliefs are.”

    As a result, when his church actively campaigned against same-sex marriage in California, neither Marriott nor the hotel chain donated any money to the cause. Instead, he stepped into the drama by publicly reinforcing his company’s commitment to gay rights through domestic partners benefits and services aimed at gay couples.


    Bill Marriott "stepped into the drama" proactively, while Dan Cathy just kind of "stepped in it". If anything, Marriott and Coors are effectively insulating their companies against the willful abdicating and self-denial of consumer revenue simply due to their founders' and CEO's investments in their personal beliefs.
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    Aug 02, 2012 6:54 PM GMT
    sambos.jpg

    Perhaps as a cautionary tale for the "I can do what I want and my loyal customers will support me" restaurateur, anybody remember Sambo's? They peaked at almost 1150 dine-in establishments in 47 states.

    Now they're back down to the original one.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambo's

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,949341,00.html

    http://www.sambosrestaurant.com/

    They were slow to react to the building public pressure to change their name and in-store imagery because of a (lame) relationship to a racist children's book. The initial cafe was founded in Santa Barbara by guys using abbreviations of their own names ("Sam" and "Bo").

    WikipediaThough the name was taken from portions of the names of its founders, the chain soon found itself associated with The Story of Little Black Sambo. Battistone Sr and Bohnett capitalized on the coincidence by decorating the walls of the restaurants with scenes from the book, including a dark-skinned boy, tigers, and a pale, magical unicycle-riding man called "The Treefriend." By the early 1960s, the illustrations depicted a light-skinned boy wearing a jeweled Indian-style turban with the tigers. A kids club, Sambo's Tiger Tamers (later called the Tiger Club), promoted the chain's family image.


    My folks took me there weekly for breakfast with throngs of hungry customers, waiting as much as an hour sometimes to be seated and seemingly longer to get served. They stopped going after doing so became publicly taboo... even after the subtle name change to "No Place Like Sam's" and the replacement of the children's imagery (the child in the book was actually South Indian, not black) with a Caucasian chef named Sam. By my time as a child patron, the darky iconography was reportedly gone from most store displays.

    We weren't blessed with social media, but I do recall civil rights leaders catching major backlash from "free speech" advocates (and their bigoted allies) on radio and in the newspaper. Meanwhile, individual Sambo's owners were boasting of how the media and political spotlight resulted in even more dyed-in-the-wool customers for them.

    This wasn't even about how they spent customers' money, this was more purely a freedom-of-expression issue. The political fallout was much more blunt, in my opinion, than anything we'd see today:

    WikipediaHowever, in the late 1970s, controversy over the chain's name drew protests and lawsuits in communities that viewed the term Sambo as pejorative towards African-Americans, particularly in the Northeastern states. Several of the restaurants were opened as or renamed to "The Jolly Tiger" in locations where the local community passed resolutions forbidding the use of the original name or refused to grant the chain permits.


    After all the slow-paced changes, though, I suspect the hour-long waits is what really did them in. Despite that, the original restaurant (owned by one of the original owner's grandsons) seems quite happy not being a chain anymore. CFA, this might be your future!
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    Aug 02, 2012 7:04 PM GMT
    dayumm saidI'm still in the let-them-die-on-the-vine crowd (no legitimate need to save a fried chicken sandwich maker), but if CFA ever got around to looking somewhere for a PR turnaround, how about Coors?

    2011GLBT_LesbianCoorsLight2-600x797.jpg

    So many love the "Silver Bullet" ads these days, and take Coors Light for granted, but there was a time (still is, in a few circles) where consumption of any Coors product was verboten in minority communities.

    HRC has a good essay (from I think around 2002, posted below) on how "Coors the company" effectively extricated itself (and more explicitly, it's profits from sales) from the conservative often-anti-LGBT foundations the Coors family love to support. If they ever want to get their sh*t together, CFA could do something similar, by making the beleaguered WinShape Foundation a "Dan Cathy" thing and not a "Chick-fil-A" thing (stopping promotional activity of WinShape functions at CFA restaurants would be a first step that makes way too much sense). Are there some other good examples out there?

    HRC (circa 2002?)Coors Print Campaign Reframes Longstanding Issues
    by Michael Wilke

    While the age-old gay boycott against Coors Brewing Co. lives on for some, others aren't sure if the brand should still be avoided. A new print campaign from Coors attempts once again to turn the conversation to its gay-positive policies.

    Titled "Real History," the ad features a triangle with a list of the company's gay rights accomplishments including: adopting an inclusive non-discrimination policy in 1978, adding same-sex partner health benefits in 1995 and other milestones. Another ad to appear in January will feature six openly gay employees.

    The educational effort will be informally tracked by word-of-mouth, with hopes to grow the brand's estimated tiny 2%-3% share in the gay market's competitive beer category.

    The brewer has been working hard to turn things around for years. Coors' first gay market effort began in 1997, with an ad that similarly touted its gay employee benefits called "Perception isn't always reality" and it soon sponsored gay events too. In 2000 a slightly controversial ad referenced Grant Wood's 1930 iconic painting "American Gothic" but featured two contemporary gay men, and in 2001 another starred openly gay Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes.

    Mary Cheney, the daughter of vice president Dick Cheney, previously served as the gay community liaison from 1994-2000, and now Rafael Fantauzzi fills the role. Fantauzzi arrived in January after 10 years of managing Hispanic community relations for American Airlines. He is part of a staff of 11 dedicated to serving Hispanic, African-American, Asian, women, Native American and Jewish concerns. Fantauzzi and Scott Coors, the openly gay son of Coors' vice-chairman, have begun to try to reframe the issues.

    Some Activists Continue to Urge Decades-Old Boycott

    The roots of Coors' robust community relations department grew out of a broader Coors boycott that goes back to the early 1970s, when unions first organized their own boycott and charged the brewer with racism, sexism and homophobia -- including lie-detector tests asking if employees were homosexual. Following the 1960 murder of Adolph Coors III, polygraph tests were conducted by a security firm in the 1970s and '80 but Coors spokesman Kevin Caulfield says sexuality questions were never asked, calling them an "absolutely false" myth.

    While the union boycott ended in 1987 and coalitions have been formed with Hispanic and African-American groups, the company remains dogged by gay activists. Recent ads run in local gay newspapers from the LGBT committee of the National Lawyers Guild still urge a boycott, citing Coors family leadership at conservative groups including the Heritage, Free Congress and Castle Rock foundations.

    But Coors says there is no relationship between the brewery and the foundations. "There are continued attempts to mix our record with other things that have nothing to do with the company. We as a company will only address those issues relevant to us a company, and not the foundations," Fantauzzi says. "We've been held to a different standard."

    Remarkably, though Coors wants to win over the gay community, it still stumbles in directly discussing the family's prominent role in conservative organizations, claiming no relationship to or little knowledge of family members' politics -- the longtime sticking points.

    The Heritage Foundation lists Joseph Coors as its founder and Holland Coors as trustees, but neither has positions with the brewer. The Free Congress Foundation is chaired by Jeffrey Coors, who is president of a separate business, Graphic Packaging International, which supplies packaging to the brewer.

    The Castle Rock Foundation is guided by trustees Peter Coors, the brewer's current chairman, and William K., the vice chairman, along with non-company family members Jeffrey and Holland. Sally Rippey, Castle Rock's executive director, says the group is "trying to be neutral" in what it funds, avoiding hot-button issues like abortion, assisted suicide and gay rights, but still makes contributions of $200,000 to the Heritage Foundation and smaller grants to other conservative organizations.


    Defining Conservative vs. Anti-Gay Organizations

    Yet while the groups are right of center, some ask if it's enough reason to punish Coors, especially when so many companies have political ties. "We need to separate conservative groups from those who actively conquer gay rights, like the Traditional Values Coalition," notes Bob Witeck, of Witeck-Combs Communications in Washington DC, which has guided Coors' gay relations. "And we need an even playing field -- if we're going to challenge Coors, then we need to ask the rest of corporate America what conservative groups they support, because many of them do it."

    By accepting major contributions from Coors, the Human Rights Campaign and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have generated controversy in recent years but also signaled growing acceptance. In its just-released Corporate Equality Index on company gay friendliness, HRC gave Coors an impressive 86 rating out of 100, compared to 57 for Miller Brewing Co. and 43 for Anheuser-Busch.

    Ultimately, gay consumers must decide if Coors' LGBT-friendly policies -- which surpass many corporations -- outbalances its numerous family members' involvement with conservative organizations not directly funded by Coors sales (the foundations even got rid of their Coors stocks in 1997).

    Coors and others have learned the hard way that even when working hard to win the gay market, memories are lasting, politics remain important and consistency counts.


    *Side notes: Coors Brewing Company now markets through MillerCoors, a joint venture formed with Miller Brewing back in 2008. They merged with Molson Brewing of Canada back in 2005.


    Way TLDR, but I did notice this

    "sexism and homophobia -- including lie-detector tests asking if employees were homosexual"

    Funny, I had a similar happen interviewing at Michelin Tire in the mid 70s. Answered truthfully, wasn’t hired.

    After ‘training’ at Lake