This is a bit off the normally beaten path of what I post here so feel free to just skip over it. This is meant to be constructive criticism and not a harsh attack because I do respect the AFA (as will be obvious from what follows).
I got another action alert from the AFA. Here is how it started, “Dear Matt, The AFA boycott of Ford Motor Company continues to impact its sales. December sales dropped 13% compared to the same period a year ago…”
The reason for the boycott is Ford’s ads during shows that promote homosexuality. While I do applaud the AFA for the continuous efforts to improve society and undergird our country with a moral foundation I do think that they could often use a little different approach. In this email, the AFA shows that Ford’s sales figures have dropped nearly every month since the boycott began (March 2006). While Ford’s numbers have dropped, it is not as simple as saying this boycott was the cause. That is like throwing a rock in the air, snapping your fingers, and watching it fall only to say that snapping your fingers brought the rock back to the ground. There are often unaccounted for factors that we overlook to think that what we are doing is making a difference. You have to be able to prove your movement is what made the difference. How can you prove that (with reasonable certainty)? There are several things you could show that would begin to make the case that yes, it was this boycott that made the difference.
1) If all other domestic auto makers experienced increases during the same period of time while Ford is posting loses. Ford was the only one boycotted, so that would move toward showing an effect.
2) If there are no other internal factors or decisions apart from the boycott that would lead to Ford’s decline.
3) If there are no broader world economic issues that would influence a decline in sales.
There may be several others but if you could build a case that there were no real alternative reasons Ford should have experienced a decline then you have something to talk about.
1) How did other U.S. automakers do over the same period of time? Answer – they also saw a drop in sales.
2) Were there any internal factors apart from the boycott that hurt Ford’s sales? Answer – yes, the end of production of the Ford Taurus one of Ford’s best selling cars. They have no replacement and have lost one of the most valueable parts of the market.
3) Were there any broader economic issues that would influence a decline in prices? Answer – yes, anyone notice gas prices these days? Many analysts say this has stifled the market as a whole and has caused a decline in sales for Ford’s biggest sellers, the F150 and large array of SUVs (see here).
There is one more wildcard factor that surely had an impact on Ford’s sales, those awful Taylor Hick’s Ford commercials. I am sure that alone played a major role in hurting Ford this year.
With all that said I do appreciate what the AFA stands for. I appreciate the role they are trying to play. I appreciate that they are willing to stand up for morality. But I think they need to be careful and reasonable in presenting the facts. I just want to see them do a quality job and do it right. I don’t want there to be any room for naysayers to jump in there and pick apart the presentation of their position. You can’t just say, “We had a boycott, sales dropped, and it was because of us.” That just doesn’t cut it. I also don’t appreciate the mentality that says Christians are out to get you if you don’t agree with us. I think there are far more effective ways of getting our message across than that.