On Friday morning, the American Family Association (AFA) outlined its grievances against Dick's Sporting Goods and called for a boycott. By late Friday night, Dick's had responded and the boycott was lifted.
Originally, AFA accused the sporting goods giant of choosing "holiday" over "Christmas" for its end-of-year marketing. "If you go into a Dick's Sporting Goods store, don't look for 'Christmas.' It won't be there," AFA wrote in an action alert on its website. "You won't find it in their newspaper inserts or on their website either. As for their television commercials...forget it. Ironically, Dick's website makes a big deal out of its 'Holiday Shop.' Complete with bows, ornaments and trees. But it's not Christmas, it's 'holiday.'"
The alert went on to call Dick's "likely the most 'anti-Christmas' of all" the 100 top retailers.
But at 11:37 pm ET, AFA sent an e-mail to supporters explaining Dick's will include "Christmas" in its marketing and canceled the boycott.
"Dick's Sporting Goods has told AFA that 'Christmas' will become a huge part of their advertising beginning November 28," the e-mail from president Tim Wildmon says. It also outlines a conference call with Vice-Chairman Bill Columbo, who told AFA, "We have made significant changes from past years, when 'holiday' was the dominant theme of our advertising." According to Columbo, the "Christmas" marketing plan was already in place prior to AFA's boycott.
The plan includes the following:
- Beginning November 28, Sunday newspaper inserts will read "Christmas 2010." It will continue each Sunday through Christmas.
- Dick's website will display the Christmas message prior to the first insert (next week) in time for Thanksgiving day.
- Television commercials running after November 28th will also refer to Christmas season.
Columbo apologized for not returning calls and letters prior to AFA's action alert.
"All across America," Wildmon writes in the e-mail, "companies are coming to realize they should include Christ and Christmas in their advertising."