Tuesday, December 17, 2019

View: Hallmark-Gate

By Beth Abramson Brier, Writer of "My Thoughts.. Exactly"
As if the backdrop of impeachment were not enough to “make the Yuletide gay*”,  this holiday season has given us the “Hallmark Channel debacle“.  For the last ten years Hallmark Channel offered us a reprieve from shopping, wrapping, baking, and stressing with its 24 hour sucrose diet of happy-ever-after-Christmas movies.  But this year I turned it off.  Earlier this month Hallmark pulled four ads that featured two brides kissing each other.  It had caved to pressure exerted by an organization that calls itself “One Million Moms”, part of the uber-conservative American Family Association.  

Who are these moms? I want them to raise their hands and identify themselves so I don’t accidentally serve with them on any PTA committees. A million moms are afraid for children to see two women getting married?  Are these million moms aware that today their children participated in an active shooter lockdown drill at school?  Do these million moms know that for some it was not a drill at all?  But let me get this straight - a million moms think a kiss will irreparably damage their children?
Until recently we didn’t see many -or any- interracial couples on television even though interracial marriage has been allowed in this country since 1967. (Once again my razor sharp legal skills come in handy.) The landmark Supreme Court case was Loving v. Virginia.  Loving was the actual last name of the couple and was so very fitting.  I am guessing that a million moms might have been concerned when their children watched loving families of different races for the first time.   

Hallmark’s capitulation and sudden reversal reminds me of the New Coke PR fail. Remember New Coke?  Since 1969 Coca-Cola had told us Coke “Is The Real Thing”.  And then in April of 1985 the company came out* and reworked our favorite bubbly beverage and launched it as New Coke.  It is considered one of the greatest marketing mistakes of all time.  Hallmark caving to One Million Moms is right up there.  But Coke came back and so will Hallmark.  

Christmas movies really have only one story line and always end the same way.  That’s why we watch them.  They are about family.  They are about happiness.  Mostly, they are about love.   Love doesn’t always look the same and that’s okay.  In fact, it’s just fine.  

Love - It’s The Real Thing. 

*intentional, of course
***again, intentional 

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Also we would like to point out that Hallmark quickly reversed its decision with a press release stating their view and citing their wide range of inclusive products.