Hoover's Mostly Bogus Soap-Opera Boycott Is an Act of PR Genius

Last Updated Apr 20, 2011 12:52 PM EDT

Hoover has pulled off a neat act of hooey in removing all its ads from ABC in protest at the canceling of soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live. Hoover spends just $243,000 on ABC soaps and its overall ad spend on ABC is only $353,000. Hoover buys only four ads a week on ABC's soaps. The company is "boycotting" something it hardly buys in the first place.

Yet following marketing vp Brian Kirkendall's cri de coeur, Hoover's Facebook page has filled up with angry soap fans supporting the company. The most charming part about it all is that Kirkendall claims he yanked his budget after talking to his mom and wife but without consulting his boss:

He was visiting his mother, a soap fan, in the hospital at the time. "She's like, when you were a baby," he said. "You used to sit beside me and we'd watch them together, you were kind of raised watching those shows."
Then Brian called his wife Christine to tell her. "She was like, what am I going to do without the Buchanans?"
Hoover's total network TV budget is about $2.5 million, according to Ad Age. That's such a tiny amount for television most marketers would consider spending it on a less fleeting medium. But with 4,000 supportive emails from soap fans and 13,000 new(ish) Facebook fans, Kirkendall just earned his brands more in PR than he lost in TV exposure.

For marketers, the move proves -- again -- that Facebook is shaping up as more of a PR tool than a sales driver.

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