The American Family Association took aim at Wal Mart last year — and won. After declaring “an open mind” when it came to the use of the word “Christmas” in their advertising, Wal Mart caved and splashed “Christmas” liberally. This year, the American Family Association is targeting a more upscale outfit: Mrs. Field’s Cookies.
Last Thursday, the American Family Association flew into action when alerted to the omission by a resident of Michigan who called Mrs. Fields’ customer service number to complain about the absence of any Christmas products or even mention of the holiday by name.
She was reportedly told by the customer service representative the company did not offer products mentioning Christmas because it did not want to offend anyone.
AFA sent out an “action alert” to hundreds of thousands of its members nationwide accusing Mrs. Fields of becoming the first company to ban Christmas from products and promotions this year.
“Mrs. Fields wants the business of Christians who celebrate Christmas, but they don’t mind if they offend Christians,” the AFA said over the signature of Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of the organization.
But, by the following day, Mrs. Fields website was offering at least three gift products mentioning “Christmas” by name.
Randy Sharp, director of special products for AFA, said the group is still not entirely pleased with the capitulation.
“Mrs. Fields is still being politically correct as a company,” he said.
He said in give-and-take conversations and e-mails with the company, officials suggested substituting “winter” in place of “holiday” in its promotions.
An official statement on the matter from Mrs. Fields says:
“This year, Mrs. Fields is celebrating our 30th anniversary and as always, looks forward to families celebrating the Christmas season with our delicious and fresh baked cookies and treats. Our plan is to kick off the 2007 holiday season beginning November 1, 2007 with seasonal gifts available both in-store, in-catalog and online. We have a complete line of holiday specific themed gifts including Christmas items that we have been perfecting for the past eight months, and are eager to share them with Mrs. Fields’ customers. From the Mrs. Fields’ kitchen to yours, we hope to help make your 2007 Christmas and holiday warmer, brighter and tastier.”
Last year, giant retailer Wal-Mart was the target of a boycott threat by AFA for dumping the word “Christmas” from all of its store promotions. Wal-Mart later avoided the clash by relenting to use the name of the holiday.