“Social media drives the narrative. It also empowers the consumer, the fan. It gives them a megaphone that they never had before.”
–David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision”
*Ah, the power of making noise. By now you know that A&E has succumbed to the beat-down by fans and sponsors of “Duck Dynasty” and brought family patriarch Phil Robertson back to the show.
Robertson, you may recall, was on suspension for remarks he made in GQ in regards to homosexuals and African-Americans nearly a week ago.
During his suspension, which was supposed to be “indefinite,” his family members (who co-star on the show with him) threatened to walk unless he was brought back. Fans also rallied around Robertson and the Duck Dynasty brand; forcing A&E to cave and Cracker Barrel – a major sponsor – to do an about face when they were initially set to pull Duck Dynasty merchandise.
I really don’t think he should have been suspended in the first place,” responds Johnson. “And the reason I’m saying that is A&E knew that he had made remarks similar to this in the past and there’s videotapes of it. A&E was very much aware of it. This is an individual who is a reality TV star. What you see on TV is what you get. A&E knew what they were buying in to.”
Johnson has his own strategy for what A&E should have done from the start. He says from the beginning they should have said:
“‘We do not agree with his comments, they do not represent the network. We are aware that he had made comments similar to this in the past. Part of him being a reality TV star is him being who he is. These comments represented him, they don’t necessarily represent the network; but we’re not going to suspend him. We, A&E, are different from Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty.’ That’s how I would’ve handled it,” Johnson concludes.
As we give you access to the full interview below, you can expect some very blunt questions and insightful revelations. Bailey even asks Johnson if this entire scenario may have been a stunt from the beginning. David gets into the serious implications a corporation and brand is sure to face if it chooses to ignore the power of social media. The expert also provides a strategy for corporations, politicians and really, anyone, put in the position of having to protect their brand.
As always, your comments are encouraged.