AS I SEE IT - 11/09/2000
This week, thoughts on the PTC's latest "activities"... and what
Vince McMahon is doing wrong in seemingly toning down his product and by not taking them
on as directly as he could, and what effect those actions are having on his business
First, it became clear two weeks ago that Burger King had chosen to kowtow to the PTC by removing its ads from WWF Smackdown, independently reported by the New York Post:
"NewsShare.com reported that The fast-food chain declined to give a reason for its decision, saying only: 'Burger King Corp. routinely alternates its media mix to effectively communicate with our consumers and to maximize our target reach.... It is not our policy to divulge specific media tactics due to the highly competitive nature of our business.'"
Those of us with Wrestling Fans Against Censorship, PTC Sucks.org, and many other wrestling fans flooded Burger King with e-mails making them aware of what we are planning to do with our buying choices; now that Burger King has apparently chosen to become an ally of a political organization that chooses to undertaken corporate terrorism under the guise of "educational campaigns".
There were those who e-mailed me and suggested that if we were "too rough" in lobbying Burger King, that Burger King might also pull advertising from RAW.
My response to them, and suggestion to readers was a comment from Texas political figure Jim Hightower:
"...If you want to clean up your drinking water, you first have to move the pig that is standing in the middle of it. And you don't move a pig by saying 'pretty please'. You put your shoulder to the back of the pig and push."
In line with that, we are now implementing the same "Project Care Package" that we started with ConAgra, when their PR staff refused to answer the phone calls and e-mails of those who were concerned, since it appeared that ConAgra was allowing the corporate terrorism campaign of the PTC to affect their advertising decisions.
"Project Care Package" means that you send any and all used or unused items from McDonalds, Wendy's, Arby's, Hardee's, Sonic, White Castle, or any local hamburger chain, or any other type of national or local fast food chain.
The concept is to package the items in question, and accompany them with a letter indicating what you're planning to do with your buying choices; now that they have chosen to become an ally of a political organization that chooses to undertaken corporate terrorism under the guise of "educational campaigns".
One then sends the package to:
Mr. Stefan Bomhard, Senior Vice President of Marketing
17777 Old Cutler Road
Miami, FL 33157
He can also be called directly at (305) 378-3535.
If you don't wish to mail the items in question to Burger King's headquarters, try "Think Globally, Act Locally" method of political action, and deliver the items in person to the Burger King in your area. You can find their addresses and telephone numbers at this link.
Here's a sample of the kind of information the Burger King locator provides, taken within 5 miles of where I work. It lists store numbers, locations, and phone numbers:
1. Burger King 9857
VA Hospital, University & Woodlands Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104 US
Phone: (215) 823-5107
2. Burger King 9656
2 Penn Center, 1500 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102 US
Phone: (215) 569-2799
3. Burger King 7625
The Gallery Mall F/C #1, 9th & Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107 US
Phone: (215) 925-2676
4. Burger King 2947
15 South 8th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2345 US
Phone: (215) 627-0145
5. Burger King 9313
St. Joseph University, Campion Center, 5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131 US
Phone: (610) 660-1170
Speak to the manager of the Burger King you visit. Let him or her know that Burger King will no longer be among the fast food choices for you and your family as long as Burger King supports an extremist organization like the Parents Television Council; and that you are delivering them samples of the fast food choices that you will be making in the future.
Further, let the manager know that you will ask everyone you know to do the same thing.
For those who can't do "Project Care Package", you can still send Burger King e-mails. Send your comments to Burger King to: email@example.com.
Those reading this (especially our UK readers) can also write to Diageo (the parent company of Burger King, which is a merged conglomerate made up of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness PLC) at their feedback page.
You can also write to Diageo at:
8 Henrietta Place
London W1M 9AG United Kingdom
UK readers can call them at:
Tel: +44 (0)207 927 5200
Fax: +44 (0)207 927 4600
If readers receive any response from Burger King, other than the standard auto-response received immediately after sending your message, please pass their response to us at Wrestling Fans Against Censorship at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the PTC kicked into disinformation mode againt this week, where the Hollywood Reporter printed a claim that the PTC claimed to have "convinced FAO Schwartz not to carry WWF toys".
One problem: there is no evidence of FAO Schwarz having carried WWF merchandise in the first place. FAO Schwarz carries high-end children's dolls, and toys.
But I guess we're expected not to let the truth get in the way of the disinformation that has been so much a part of the PTC's extremist corporate terrorism campaign of the last two years.
When asked by a wrestling fans recently about providing written proof about their claims, a PTC representative responded:
"...We do not have written proof because we do not need written proof. WWF and others claim we have lied about advertisers. We say that companies have agreed to withhold their advertising dollars from the show. Withholding meaning they will either stop advertising or have promised to never advertise. Sometimes we have written confirmation, other times we have verbal commitments, all which have been honored."
OK...let me get this right. Something is so because the PTC says it's so, and we shouldn't question what they say? Does that remind anyone of the mindset that cults utilize?
For anyone who wishes to contact FAO Schwarz to find out if the company ever actually spoke to anyone from the PTC, you can call Customer Service at(800) 876-7687, or directly contact:
Alan Marcus, Vice President, Public Relations
767 5th Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10153
You can phone Mr. Marcus at (212) 644.9410 ext. 4110, or fax him at: (212) 688.6053, or e-mail him at: email@example.com.
If FAO Schwarz verifies that they've made this commitment to the PTC, it might be worthwhile to let them know that we can do our Christmas shopping elsewhere this year, and urge others to do the same.
Now let's look at what I suggested about Vince McMahon:
Vince McMahon is making the mistake that one could suggest the PTC is really hoping he makes...toning down his product as a result of their corporate terrorism campaign, and consequently losing ratings.
In recent weeks, mild profanity is constantly bleeped by TNN and UPN. Gimmicks like "Mr. Ass" are being removed under the guise of the heel "RTC" winning a match stipulation. DX crotch chops have disappeared.
It's been rumored that even "Gunn" in Billy Gunn's nickname has been abbreviated under concern. While the latter is doubtful, it suggests that many of the same fans who have been working against the PTC are concerned that Vince McMahon may quietly tone down his product to get the PTC to back off of their corporate terrorism campaign and any effect it may have on their stock prices.
If you observe the ratings patterns in 1999 and 2000, it's not just Smackdown, but also RAW that has affected by this toning down of the WWF product.
Let's look at the Monday Night RAW ratings for 1999 and 2000:
January -- 5.7/5.5/5.6/5.5
February -- 5.9/DNA/5.9/5.5/6.3
March -- 6.4/5.8/6.4/6.5
April 1999 -- 5.8/6.3/6.1/6.0
May 1999 -- 6.4/8.1/6.4/7.2
June 1999 -- 6.7/6.7/6.0/6.8
July 1999 -- 6.2/6.0/6.3/7.1
August 1999 -- 5.9/6.4/6.6/5.9/4.2*
September 1999 -- *4.4/6.0/6.1/6.8
October 1999 -- 5.9/6.1/5.4/5.6
November 1999 -- 5.9/5.4/6.3/5.5/6.5
December 1999 -- 6.0/6.1/5.8/5.8
January 2000 -- 6.4/6.8/6.0/6.7/6.6
February 2000 -- 6.5/4.4*/5.9/6.5
March 2000 -- 6.4/6.3/6.2/6.6
April 2000 -- 6.4/6.2/6.7/7.1
May 2000 -- 7.4/6.2/6.1/7.1/6.4
June 2000 -- 5.9/6.8/5.8/6.4
July 2000 -- 5.3/6.0/6.2/6.2/6.4
August 2000 -- 6.3/5.9/6.2/4.9*
September 2000 -- *4.2/5.8/5.7/5.4
October 2000 -- 5.4/5.4/4.8/5.5/4.9
November 2000 5.1
DNA- did not air
* aired on weekend, due to alternate USA programming
Ratings have gone down from a 7.2-8.1 share range during the first wave of the PTC's activity against the WWF in May 1999 to a 6.4-7.4 share range in May 2000, when the attacks by the PTC on MCI WorldCom began...a 24% drop in ratings from RAW's highest point.
RAW's ratings dropped to 4.9-5.5 ranges last month. Even considering the obvious factor of switching to TNN, a drop from 8.1 to 4.9 share has got to concern advertisers.
August 1999 -- 5.7
September 1999 -- 5.3/3.5/4.5/4.3/5.7
October 1999 -- 4.4/4.6/4.8/4.8
November 1999 -- 4.8/5.1/4.6/3.8
December 1999 -- 4.6/4.3/4.4/4.4/5.8
January 2000 -- 5.8/5.0/5.4/5.4
February 2000 -- 4.7/5.2/4.9/4.9
March 2000 -- 4.9/4.5/4.8/4.8/5.3
April 2000 -- 4.6/4.7/5.2/5.4/
May 2000 -- 5.3/5.0/4.3/4.5
June 2000 -- 4.8/5.0/4.6/4.2/4.6
July 2000 -- 4.3/4.0/4.4/4.8
August 2000 -- 4.6/4.7/4.7/4.3/5.0
September 2000 -- 4.7/4.9/4.7/4.7
October 2000 -- 5.0/4.7/4.6/4.7
November 2000 -- 5.0
From many wrestling fans, here's some thoughts for Vince McMahon, and Viacom:
No matter what you do, the Parents Television Council won't stop harassing you until you make them stop with legal action against their false claims of costing you advertisers. You did say you were doing that last week, right, Vince? But there has been no announcement of that lawsuit since.
If you think that toning down your product will help, witness their complaints about signs seen in the crowd using the word "ass" from the November 3rd E-Alert:
"One sign says 'On Your Candy Ass '"
Another sign says 'Pete Gas Kicks Ass'"
The PTC is willing to go so far as to tell you what signs your fans are allowed to hold up and what they can say.
In the same "Smackdown" report, the PTC then goes step by step and describe what they find to be "unacceptable":
"* Jeff Hardy hits Buh-Buh Ray Dudley in the crotch during a tag team match
* During the same match, D-von Dudley jumps from the top rope, head first, into Jeff's crotch, then does the same to Matt Hardy
* Perry Saturn sneaks up behind Road Dogg and punches him in the back
* Chris Benoit slams Triple H's head into the announcer's table and a set of steel steps
* In the hardcore match, Albert hits Crash in the head with a steel trash can lid
* Crash hits Albert with some leather straps, and also hits him twice each in the knees and the head with the steel trash can lid."
Does this strike you as a group that will accept anything less than a return to the days of Titan Toon Adventures? It doesn't strike me that way, and it doesn't strike your fans that way.
It's clear that your fans want to see a adult product, not a sports entertainment product the PTC and their friends deem to be safe for children.
One thing you did right, Vince...even if I didn't agree with your apparent suggestion for a recommended choice of a Presidential candidate for voters... was to have Jerry Lawler take on Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman by name on RAW Monday night for being "card-carrying members of the [R]TC".
Let's face it, whether or not Joseph Lieberman winds up a heartbeat away from the Presidency or back in the Senate, he isn't going away. Nor will the attempts to limit our ability to listen to the music we like, or to produce or even watch the television programming we want. Not unless you show the same "chutzpah" that you asked Hollywood to have recently and directly take on the PTC by name with no apologies.
Even if it seemed a bit self-serving, your speech opening that same RAW and telling people to get out and vote was also welcome. It seemed ironic that RAW and the Smackdown that airs Thursday night were both in the home state of Governor George W, Bush, one of the two "major party" candidates for the Presidency, a race still undecided as of the writing of this column.
It's about time that you took the PTC head on, Vince. You can do that by letting RAW and Smackdown be the adult sports entertainment programs they were intended to be, not by toning down your product.
Oh, and one other thing... turn loose your fans on those who would stop them from being entertained. Name names, Vince. Tell your fans who the P-T-C is....not just the parody you put on your TV. Tell your fans who the real L. Brent Bozell is. Tell your fans what he is and what he represents.
To repeat my Jim Hightower quote from above:"...If you want to clean up your drinking water, you first have to move the pig that is standing in the middle of it. And you don't move a pig by saying 'pretty please'. You put your shoulder to the back of the pig and push."
Groups like those of us in Wrestling Fans Against Censorship will be happy to give them ideas as to what to do, and to have them join us in "moving the pig out of our water".
Then we can get back to the business of worrying about things like who you're putting in the main event at WrestleMania. It'd certainly be a lot more fun.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)