Taking ‘Get Woke Go Broke’ to New Lows – Spice Company Rejecting Republicans Is Not Paying Off

So you say this spice company demonizing Republicans has NOT experienced a windfall as a result?!

Look, far be it from me to dictate how you run your company. It is your capital and your sweat equity that went into your venture, so you get to call the shots. I won’t dictate your business practices but I might question them, especially in light of market reactions which seem to indicate your tactics are costing you, rather than paying off. I do not need to lecture when the free market is the one delivering the lesson.

We are more than familiar with the pitfalls involved with the corporate temptation to Get Woke. In the case of Penzey’s Spices, a gastronomic entity in Wisconsin, it is something else entirely as the head of the company seems remarkably obsessed with politics. So much so that in an era when companies are struggling in the pandemic marketplace the namesake Bill Penzey is perfectly comfortable with driving away a core segment of his customer base. 

Rather than tipping his hand at virtue signaling causes, or grandstanding on particular issues like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream does routinely, Penzey’s has a distinctly novel stance. The company says Republicans need not click PURCHASE. It is a daring move in this economy, but daring does not mean it is lucrative. Nor smart. He is now admitting to a significant loss of business.

Long a socially vocal entity, last month, the salty CEO took things to a severely spicy level. For the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Bill rechristened it for a sale promotion: Republicans Are Racists Weekend! Lest you think this was a gag or even unreal, let me assure you – it was totally real.

To go along with the promotion Mr. Penzey delivered a promotional screed that was long in syntax, but woefully short on facts. Here’s just a sample of his impressions behind his marketing genius. 

If you’re a part of a party that does everything it can to make it harder for Black people to vote, gerrymanders the value of minority votes down into a small fraction of the value of white votes in state houses and in the US House of Representatives, and are willing to vote for candidates of the party that nominated a man for president who explained why he was launching his campaign by saying: “Mexicans are rapists and murderers,” the Racist label is one you will deservingly wear every day you stand with them. Get used to it, or maybe instead, become a better person. The choice is yours. We will be here rooting for you to Choose Love.

Bill seems lost on many particulars when it comes to MLK, and racism in general. Dr. King famously instructed we are not to judge people on the color of their skin. Bill Penzey begins from that very position. The gerrymandering charge is an amusing one, in that he displays the common theme that only Republicans use this tactic. (Go check out the efforts in New York and California, Bill.) But even his opposition to racism is rooted in ignorance. Racism is being prejudicial, and Bill here is doing exactly that in declaring all Republicans to be racist. 

So, how did Bill’s outreach — or out-push, as it were – work out for him? About as well as anyone outside of the Penzey’s company might expect. In just a 2-week span he has managed to drive away a measurable amount of thousands of customers, causing him to now scramble for a remedy.

And where a couple times a year we’ve offered $50 Gift Cards for $35, this time we are doing 2-$25 Gift Cards for $35 instead, with the hope this might make it a bit easier for you to share some and possibly get a few good new customers to replace the ones we’ve lost.

Our starting the year with just being done with pretending Republican nonsense is anything other than non-sense has cost us 40,005 unsubscribes (roughly 3%) from our Voice Of Cooking email list. So far your word-of-mouth has already brought us 30,000 fresh faces, but we are still down about 10,000.

Call me dubious on that percentile. If that three percent factor is accurate it means he has a spice email list of near 1.4 million, which means more than double the amount of their FaceBook page — where the tendency to click “Like” is far less involved than subscribing to an email list. But if true, his fretting over the 10,000 subscriber drop means he is running a loss-leader promotion of -30 percent in revenue in order to recover less than a one percent loss. His math skills seem as sketchy as his civics.

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