RUSH: This is Michael somewhere in Florida. Great to have you, sir. It’s great to have you with us today. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Pleasure to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I wanted to expound on a point you made yesterday. I’m a CMO of a very large brand here in the U.S. and I can definitely concur that we’re feeling the pressure from these concerted efforts to try to force us out of advertising in certain channels or specifically on certain conservative TV shows.
CALLER: What’s interesting that you didn’t mention yesterday is — and, by the way, those campaigns are very easy to spot. They typically got three very telltale signs that they’re an orchestrated campaign. But what’s interesting is it’s now started a groundswell from the employee base who are pressuring now me and my colleagues to actually succumb to this pressure externally, not necessarily always for political reasons, although I do sometimes question if that’s the core motivating factor, but just from the standpoint of perception and not wanting the bad publicity, especially on social media. So it’s definitely a growing phenomenon not only externally, but now interestingly — I was kind of caught off guard by the internal groundswell now.
RUSH: Actually, I’m glad you mentioned this, because it is part of the organized effort – just to make sure people understood what you said. He’s a major CMO of a major corporation here in Florida and he’s subject to all the external attempts, the boycott threats and the threatening letters, “We’re never gonna pay for knives, gonna blow your business, whatever we’re gonna do.”
But what’s new now is that his employees, some of them, are siding with these protesters and refusing to work or demanding that the boycott be responded to or what have you, and to your experience, that’s new, you haven’t had that kind of internal pressure matched with the external pressure before. Right?
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: And that’s causing you to do what, now?
CALLER: I haven’t done anything. I’ve stood my ground. But what I am having to do is we have to have these conversations internally now, and we have to talk about how this is really not about politics. I give them examples of companies who have struggled because they’ve actually decided to succumb and take a stand, and there’s a reverse backlash from the other side. And, you know, remind them that we’re trying to sell a product here. This is about commerce, this isn’t about politics, and we’re not gonna allow the tail to wag the dog.
And like I said, you know, it’s a small — I call it a small mob of people, and again, it’s very orchestrated and you can tell that it is. And, you know, if we do succumb, then the risk is the other side would begin to rally as well, and eventually the target audience that we would have to go after would be severely shrunk, and we’d struggle to do business because we are allowing outside influences to direct our advertising efforts.
RUSH: It’s exactly right. And it is trending that way. Let me ask about your employees that have joined, that you’ve perceived have joined — is it a sizable percentage of your employee base that is applying internal pressure? Is it just a few? How do you know how many it is?
CALLER: That’s a great question. Right now it’s a small number, but it’s limited due to the fact that there’s not a enlargement contingent of employees that are even aware of the campaigns. Most of these campaigns come in through either email or our website, and so there is a limited number of employees who are even aware of the campaigns.
RUSH: Right. So how are these employees — see, I would submit to you that that they are recruited activists, that it’s not just spontaneously happening.
CALLER: I couldn’t answer that. I never thought of that, to be honest with you.
RUSH: Never underestimate the organizational skills, purposes and intentions of the left. They leave nothing to chance, and at the same time they want it to appear as though all of it is organic and spontaneous, when in truth none of it is, Michael. Very little of this protest activity you’re getting is genuine. It’s because these professional protesters have been told that you are a problem, that you may be supporting media people they disagree with.
So you have been targeted. Not by your customers, but by an activist group that wants you to think they are your customers. And then in any company you’re gonna have a percentage of the people inside that are gonna be prone to being solicited as activists to join the cause or whatever. I mean, I could tell you things that we’ve gone through here, but I don’t want to give other people ideas to rekindle it.
But I’ve faced everything that you’ve faced here and we’ve beat it back and we’ve identified the people behind it and we found out, in our case it was 10 people, who were able to make themselves look like over a hundred thousand. Can you hang on through the break? I’d like to continue this with you because I can sense you have other things you want to add to it but I’m just out of time right now, so if you can hang on, do.
RUSH: I want to go back to Michael somewhere in Florida. I now know why he’s saying somewhere. He is a CMO at a major Florida corporation now being subjected to an external boycott threat which has now become joined by an internal threat because some of his employees have joined with the external agitators who are trying to pressure him and his business into eliminating any support for the political enemies of these protesters.
Where we left off — I don’t know your situation exactly, and I’m not asking you to spell it out exactly. I realize your desire for keeping a lot of this private. But my experience has been, Michael, that the vast majority of this is not really your customers, and it’s not really organic, and it’s not really made up of average, ordinary Americans mad at you because of what you support or where you advertise.
These are campaigns. These are movements that are bought and paid for by Democrat and leftist donors and fundraisers organized by the same people, made to look like what you think it is. And it’s hard to ignore it because they’re threatening to damage your business.
And the reason this is relevant is I was talking about this aspect of behavior by the American left. Angelo Codevilla who wrote the original piece on the ruling class versus the country class, the swamp of Washington versus the rest of us, is out recently with the observation that they are alone getting away with this. That we do not join these protests, we do not fight back on the same level, the same field that they are playing, and so we always end up on defense and losing to these —
He wasn’t talking about you, Michael. He’s talking about conservatives and Republicans who are the real targets of protests against companies like yours. And he was almost urging that a similar type behavior take place because we have buying power too. Conservatives are probably a greater percentage and wealthier percent of the population than the American left and the Democrats are. And if a similar kind of pressure is applied, then it could have a cancellation effect on people like you; maybe you’ll ignore all of it.
So you call in the midst of this discussion. And now what he’s told us is that the new component for him, which is adding pressure, is that his employees — some of them, he doesn’t know how many — are joining the external protest and it’s just added pressure. And you don’t want any part of it. This is not your business.
You’re here to do whatever your business does. You’re not in politics. But you advertise where your customers are. You want to reach as many people as you can, and there are people trying to prevent you from doing that, and I understand how frustrating this is. Do you have a battle plan or a strategy for dealing with it or is it still too soon for you to know what you’re gonna do?
CALLER: Are you speaking externally or internally?
RUSH: Well, both. But externally first, because that’s where the pressure first came and that’s where probably the greatest numbers are.
CALLER: Externally, the plan now is to deal with this in social media and for us to take a stand that we’re trying to reach an audience and that this isn’t a political discussion, but it’s a commerce discussion. And really try to stick to those talking points and try to stay out of the political fray as it relates to that external pressure.
And I agree with you. It’s clearly orchestrated. It’s clearly a small group of people who are not our customers. It’s very obvious. Internally, it’s just education. It’s just a matter of giving examples where we can show proof that this is an orchestrated effort by a very small, very small group of people who are trying to pressure us. And then remind the employees about why we choose to buy on those programs, and it’s about demographics. It’s about where people are that buy our products, that shout for our products and us trying to reach them regardless of political affiliation. So it’s really an education campaign.
RUSH: Has that begun?
CALLER: Externally, yes.
RUSH: No, internally, with your employees. Has that effort to bring them in and to kind of share with them the purpose of the company, has that begun yet?
CALLER: Not in that context, no. I’ve done it one on one with some leaders that have come to me on behalf of other employees, and I’ve had those discussions, so we’ve not done something larger scale yet. That’s something we’re working on.
RUSH: Let me tell you what’s coming your way. I hope it doesn’t. But there used to be a guy, Brandon something. He ran Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser and a bunch of other things, California. He donated money to a ballot initiative in California that as a theme, it was a pro-life ballot initiative, which meant in political terms that it was anti-abortion.
This guy was management. The employees went nuts and pressured executives below him and threatened to walk out and leave the company unless this guy was fired. He resigned to save the company any stress. In this case, the employees dictated what the company did.
It was a great company, he was a great manager, they were in no trouble whatsoever. Simply because it was discovered that he had donated money to a ballot initiative, he was gone. He had to leave. He chose not to fight it. The employees won the day.
I could give you other examples of this, many in Silicon Valley, many at Disney where the employees have raised hell about Disney choosing somebody to star in a TV show that the employees didn’t like, threatened to walk out, Disney fires the star. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s always political. It’s always organized.
Now, having said that, they have done such a good job of making people mad. The left has done a great job of putting people on edge anyway, people on their side of the aisle, that in some cases the employee aspect of this may not even need to be organized.
They may already be so amped up with anger anyway that when they find out what their company is doing, they don’t need any external pressure to raise hell, they just do it because they’ve been conditioned to do so. And so your effort to shut this down is admirable, and your educational way, I think, is great too. The employees don’t have the responsibility you do.
RUSH: And for them to assert it when it isn’t theirs and to have politics become the primary reason you run your business, you can’t run the business that way. They have to know that.
CALLER: It’s a bit of a microcosm of what we’re seeing in social media, right? It’s beginning to happen within companies. People feel like they have a greater voice beyond what they truly understand —
RUSH: Well, they do because so many executives have caved over the years rather than deal with the pressure and rather than deal with the educational effort that you seem willing to do, they just cave to it. So precedent has been set.
CALLER: And that would be my message in this conversation would be to fellow marketers out there and, you know, peer CMOs that we can’t show weakness, because the minute we show weakness then it just emboldens the other side and they will amp up efforts and continue. And the only way this goes away is not by buckling, but by standing firm. And then for fellow conservatives, you know, to do business with those companies that they see are standing strong and not buckling to the pressure and continuing to advertise in those venues that supports conservatism, that’s the only way to —
RUSH: You know, that’s a key point. What I have found about the people that listen to this audience — and when I meet with our advertising clients, I make sure they know this — that this audience is very knowledgeable and sophisticated about what it takes to keep this program on the air. They very much patronize the sponsors. They do it knowing, A, they trust what they’re hearing that the products or services are good and worthwhile. They also know that it’s what keeps this going, and therefore they pay.
So they instinctively understand, very loyal and they fight, and they’re very loyal to every advertiser on this program. They will never cave, they’ll never buckle, they’ll never behave like any of these outside agitators. And we’re just very fortunate with that. We have found over the years that if you don’t buckle like you just said, that they’ll eventually go away and find other people who will buckle. They’re not gonna waste their time trying to get somebody who’s not gonna buckle to them to buckle. They’ll go find people who are weaker in will.
But it’s tough at the moment because they’re gonna be caustic, they’re gonna be mean-spirited, the emails are gonna be very threatening. But not a one of them, or very few of them, are gonna come from legitimate customers. But most businesses will say, “I can’t take the chance they’re fake. I don’t want to be in business dealing with complaint letters all day.” Which is also what they play off of. It’s a tough thing to stand up to this kind of stuff.
You’re not trained to tell people who are made to look like customers to leave you alone and go to hell. You’re trained to be responsive to them. You’re trained to try to understand their needs and wants and comply so that you can maintain a business relationship with ’em. They play off of that too. The outside agitators, I mean. They utilize all of these things.
And the key is trying to make people like you think that they’re not activists, that they’re not political, that they’re genuinely outraged that you’re advertising on such-and-such a program, that it’s anti-American, that it’s against our values or whatever the pet phrases they put in the emails are to make it look like it’s organic and natural. But it isn’t. These are all campaigns. They’re run out of one or two places.
So I’m glad you’re holding up to it. And I’m really glad you called to talk about this, ’cause it’s been an ongoing battlefield that can, it’s been shown, battlefield on which we can win by not buckling to the pressure of it. I despise this kind of stuff, Michael. I despise it when it happens to me, when it happens to other people. I literally despise it. And I really get angry when I find that people are caving to it. Because it’s the path of least resistance.
CALLER: Rush, would it be okay if I made a personal comment here at the end?
RUSH: Sure, make a personal comment. Absolutely. We’ll pretend it’s Friday.
CALLER: I’m a marketer at heart so I can’t help but plug a product, and I’ll plug your product real quickly. I’m a 24/7 sub. But what’s interesting about that is very early in my career, I created my own 24/7. It’s about 25 years ago. I was retail sales rep for a large organization, and couldn’t listen to your show ’cause I was busy with customers on the floor during your broadcast hours. So what I did was I bought a boom box (this would have been back in the early nineties) and got a 90-minute tape. I’d record half of your show on one side, and I had a timer set, and I would go and record the other half of your show on the other side of the tape.
And then I had an hour-and-15-minute drive to and from work when I would listen to your show. I’d listen to the first half of your show that day driving home, and I’d listen to the end of the show driving to work the next day, and then do the whole thing over again. So I can’t tell you how much I enjoy 24/7, having the ability when I’m busy and can’t listen to your show during day, obviously because of work. But I can catch it when it’s convenient for me. So I love the product and really, really appreciate it, Rush.
RUSH: Well, thank you. I appreciate that very much. This is… You’ve been with us this long, and you have found ways to maximize the flexibility in order not to miss the program. That’s worth something. Well, I don’t know how long your subscription goes, but if you hang on — don’t hang up after we hang up here — Mr. Snerdley will pick the phone back up and I want to put together a little goody package for you and then comp your membership for the rest of your life, because you have… It’s obvious you’ve spent a lot of time here with us, and I can’t tell you how much that’s appreciated.
So don’t hang up — and don’t worry. Whatever you give us will remain private. The external, internal provocateurs will not be told anything — and I can’t thank you enough. I remember hearing from people back in those days, that they would find ways to record on cassette. There was even a guy that manufactured a cassette recorder that he wanted us to advertise on the program that did this. I mean, this is before CDs and DVDs. Well, it wasn’t before CDs, but recordable CDs were not popular yet. They had not yet made their way into the home consumer market. So people were still recording on cassettes, and it was requiring a lot of effort for people to do it. It dazzled us and blew us away.
So, Michael, thanks again.