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Where Are You, Howard Beale?

Where Are You, Howard Beale?

You have to admit, there are many times life imitates art. Take the movie, Network (1976). Written by Paddy Chayefski, the film was considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress. If you haven’t seen it (I’m assuming there are some younger people out there reading this), you really must. It is as spot on now as it was nearly 40 years ago. Probably one of the most famous lines of copy is said on-air by Howard Beale, the leading character and news anchor that has had his fill of the hypocrisy he sees around him.

“I want you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

So, when are you going to get mad as hell? When are you collectively going to say to certain brands, I’m not going to carry you if you sell directly online. I’m going to do what it takes for me to sell your brand. I’m going to advertise in my market where I know is best. You’re not going to limit my paid search, or tell me I can’t use specific phrases. I’m not going to directly link to your online ecommerce site. I’m going to represent your brand as part of my brand. My website will feature your product in my gallery for a consistent look and feel. It will not link back to you as the only place to look at product or utilize your iframe, which provides my users a different experience. I’m going to tell you, if you don’t protect my territory, take your inventory back, immediately. Or, if you don’t protect my territory, I have the right to run your product on sale. Do to my competitor, less than one mile from my store, what you did to me. When are you going to tell your buying groups to throw them out? Collectively, you have the power! Collectively, you will hurt their bottom line almost as much as they are hurting yours.

Somewhere along the line, everyone forgot the retailer is the customer. Somewhere along the line, the money blinded you to the hypocrisy of it all. Most brands have built their success on the backs of retailers. It’s not okay for many of them to do what they’re doing. And, you know who they are. They’re selling online. They’re taking their brands to big-box stores. You allow them to bully you. And, unfortunately, the bullies are growing in numbers.

When are you going to get mad as hell?

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