By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth
The media certainly loves to bash Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart’s decision to not sell the newly released and profanity-laced album from the band Green Day is no exception. Green Day’s new CD is currently the number one celling CD in the country and the band is incensed that the nation’s largest retailer won’t sell the album. Wal-Mart actually offered to sell the CD, they just wanted Green Day to remove the profanity prior to doing so. Rather than Wal-Mart being applauded for its common sense approach to decency, it has been excoriated for accusations of censorship. In today’s post I’ll share my thoughts about why Wal-Mart’s decision has nothing to do with censorship and everything to do with sound business logic, brand stewardship, and doing the right thing…
Let me begin by stating what should be three very obvious points:
- Wal-Mart is a retail outlet that has the absolute right to determine which products they accept for sale in their stores, which products they choose to decline, and which products the choose to conditionally accept with modifications. It is their retail shelf-space and online shopping cart space to do with as they will. If Green Day wants to sell their CD in Wal-Mart stores, then they need to comply with Wal-Mart’s conditions…it’s just that simple.
- Wal-Mart’s core demographic is selling into the family market. It would make no sense whatsoever for Wal-Mart to sell a product that the overwhelming majority of families would consider to be distasteful and objectionable. They must jealously defend their brand reputation, do everything within their power to adhere to their brand promise, and protect their brand equity…anything less would not be acceptable to Wal-Mart stakeholders.
- Wal-Mart is not a library, government agency, or educational institution…it is a business enterprise, and as such, the allegations of censorship with respect to product selection and distribution are patently ridiculous.
Let’s move from the objective legal and brand arguments to a discussion of a more subjective nature…doing the right thing. Wal-Mart is simply being a good corporate citizen for not catering to the degradation of our nation’s character. Green Day, Gangster Rappers, and other so-called “artists” do not have the right to offend others under a perverted definition of what constitutes art, or an incorrect interpretation of the constitutional right to free speech. Being ill-mannered, hateful, vulgar, disrespectful, and arrogant are not qualities that retailers should be desirous of in their suppliers.
Now I’m going to get personal…I don’t know about you, but I grow very weary of having to approach people in public and asking them to tone down their language in front of my wife. Why should I have to subject myself, my family, or my friends to poor behavior, a bad manners, indecent behavior, or profane language? While I served in the military to protect the freedoms’ and rights’ of our nation’s citizens, I didn’t serve to protect overindulged idiots masquerading as artists who are bent on tearing down the moral fabric that made this country so great to begin with.
If more corporations would take a stand and do the right thing by holding the products they distribute to a higher standard of quality this country would be a far better place as a result. Kudos to Wal-Mart. Thus ends today’s rant…