Soap fans looking for a white knight to ride in and save their canceled ABC soaps probably didn't expect their knight to be arriving on the back of a Hoover WindTunnel vacuum cleaner.
The mainstream media is still buzzing over Hoover's decision to pull its ads from ABC following the network's decision to cancel All My Children and One Life to Live. Meanwhile, soap fans have embraced Hoover for siding with them, and have even gone as far as to declare Friday, April 22 -- the day Hoover's ABC boycott begins -- as "Buy A Hoover Day."
In a letter posted on the company's official Facebook page, Hoover's Vice President of Marketing, Brian Kirkendall, expressed the company's "disappointment" with ABC's decision to cancel All My Children and One Life to Live.
Now, Kirkendall has sat down with soapcentral.com to discuss why he posted his original message and the response to Hoover's boycott, and he addresses concerns that the ad pulls were "counterintuitive" to fans' desire to keep the soaps on the air.
"My wife and mom are both passionate viewers of All My Children and One life to Live, as are many people that work at Hoover," Kirkendall told soapcentral.com "In fact, I used to watch the shows with my mom while she folded laundry. We were just as disappointed with this news as our fans. We started to see comments come in through our Facebook page and we recognize what is important to our customers, which is why we are supporting the viewers by taking this action."
That action was to pull Hoover's advertising from ABC, effective April 22. Kirkendall explained that Hoover had "plans to evaluate ad buys ongoing through the year," but scrapped those plans once the company "heard the outpouring from fans."
"At Hoover we're committed to listening to our customers -- and our customers needed our support. We've been advertising on soap operas for decades and are disappointed with the decision to pull these long-time favorite shows," Kirkendall added. "We pride ourselves in listening to our consumers -- that's anyone from a young person with their first apartment, to a mom with kids, to an empty nester. The passionate viewers are upset -- and [they] let us know that -- so we decided to take this action. We're always evaluating our marketing plans to connect with them, and making decisions based on how they feel, what they do and where they are."
In addition to removing advertising, Hoover also set up a dedicated email address (SaveTheSoaps@hoover.com) to help direct fans' emails to ABC. Kirkendall promises that every email received -- and there have been thousands in under a week -- will be delivered to ABC.
In an unofficial statement to TVGuide, ABC dismissed Hoover's boycott as proof that daytime soaps can't make money. And for any skeptics who might claim that Hoover's pullout was part of a calculated plot, Kirkendall vehemently denies it.
"This was not a marketing stunt, I just wanted to address the passionate fans and let them know that we hear them and see their comments," explained Kirkendall. "Our customers needed our support, so we set up the simple email address to provide a forum for them to voice their opinions."
And in return, soap fans are returning the favor by buying new vacuum cleaners.