(originally published December 18th, 2005)

This past week, Ford Motor Company went through the wringer in bad publicity. First they took heat from an organization because they advertised in a gay publication. Someone met with the groups leaders, and agreed to pull their ads from this publication. When word got out, the bad press went the other direction, and Ford decided to recant and keep their ads in place. Now the first group is creaming again, and contemplating whether they need to call for a boycott against Ford.

To some, any publicity is good publicity, but not in this instance. Ford could have avoided the whole thing by ignoring the initial complaints because their motives were made based on monetary needs, not social engineering. Companies need to have the right to advertise as they see fit, and they need to advertise to those markets which they count on for significant sales.

Any time I hear of groups that want to boycott someone because they’re advertising on a program or in a publication whose content they may not like, I think of the issues brought up some years ago when it was discovered that Katz Advertising had an internal memo which stated that they wouldn’t advertise with black media because “those aren’t the types of customers our clients wish to market to.” Of course, this particular group, who I don’t wish to mention by name, never would have sided with black media on this topic, because they’re not for freedom of speech or freedom of life; they want everyone to be just like them.

But even these groups have one thing right; sticking to your principles, whatever they may be, will usually work better for you than waffling and trying to find a way to please everyone. If you can’t make everybody happy, at least try to make yourself happy. And if your happiness means you have to be intolerant towards others,… well, you’ll have to deal with that on your own.