Marketing Exec: Kellogg’s Lecturing ‘Heartlanders’ on Values ‘Like Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight’

Marketing executive Paul Jankowski weighs in on Breitbart News’ #DumpKelloggs campaign, writing that corporations should be wary of offending a group of consumers he calls the “New Heartland.” “Bottom line,” Jankowski says, “brands that make these knee jerk decisions will feel the pain measured in perception and sales.”

From Campaign US:

In Kellogg’s defense, they stated that they advertise on lots of websites, “so occasionally something is inadvertently missed. We learned from consumers that ads were placed on Breitbart.com and decided to discontinue advertising there.” So, they were in a tough spot, but I’d love to know how many complaining consumers it took to force them to change course. Or was it internal pressure in addition to customers

Regardless, the vast majority of consumers living in the New Heartland, which includes the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast, will see this as elitist posturing. It’s the same unresearched thinking that had so many number crunchers, pundits and marketers reeling after the election.

Big brands take note. Talking to New Heartlanders about values is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Values like faith (not religion), community, and family are front and center for New Heartlanders. The most successful companies’ values map back to their customers’ values—not just those of the people who work in the marketing department. Living up to those values includes knowing where your ads are being placed so you don’t end up in situations like this.

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