Tuesday, November 20, 2007

new yorkers know trees

NYC is the most cosmopolitan and cultural diverse city in America. New Yorkers don't need to be p.c.

Watchdog Groups Agitate to Keep Christmas Christian:
Lowe's Gets Stung for Advertising 'Family Trees'

The Wall Street Journal
November 20, 2007

As retailers begin advertising their hot holiday products and setting up their seasonal displays this week, no one will be more eager to check it all out than the 3.3 million supporters of the American Family Association.

The Tupelo, Miss.-based watchdog group will be hitting the stores and checking out ads as part of its Project Merry Christmas campaign, an effort to chastise retailers and others for purposely leaving Christmas out of their marketing. Supporters can also purchase buttons -- for a 90-cent "donation" apiece -- that proclaim: "Merry Christmas. God's good news!"

The group has already started agitating. Last week, someone brought to chairman Don Wildmon's attention that Lowe's Cos. holiday catalogue had a two-page spread of decorated trees it labeled "Family Trees" instead of Christmas trees.

Mr. Wildmon sent an email "action alert" to his members and between 11 p.m. Monday night and 7 a.m. the next morning, the home improvement chain had received 119,000 emails at its Mooresville, N.C., headquarters.

Lowe's spokeswoman Chris Ahearn immediately phoned Mr. Wildmon and apologized. "It was not our intention to be politically correct," says Ms. Ahearn. "It just slipped through the proofreading process. It was a play on words, but it was not well received."

The AFA has targeted Lowe's before. Two years ago, the retailer had banners in its stores over the trees calling them "holiday trees," part of the company's overall "home for the holidays" theme. Lowe's apologized then, too, and pulled the banners down, replacing them with banners that said "Christmas Trees." Lowe's asked them to call in the future if there was ever another problem, but apparently the group thought emails would be more effective.

"We found it's best if you talk after they heard from your supporters," explains Mr. Wildmon.

WSJ's Adam Najberg hits the streets to check if New Yorkers have their tree terminology straight:

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