(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
The American Family Association is calling for a limited one-month boycott of Radio Shack, accusing the company of censoring the word "Christmas" from its holiday promotions and advertising.
"Until Radio Shack proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising and in-store signage, I will boycott its stores this Christmas," a boycott pledge on AFA's website states.
The faith-based nonprofit claims Radio Shack has continued to censor "Christmas" for years despite tens of thousands of consumer requests asking the company to recognize the holiday. The company frequently uses the term "holiday" instead of "Christmas" in its advertising.
"Radio Shack has been one of the most stubborn retailers that we have dealt with," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for AFA, told The Christian Post. "If you look at Radio Shack's recent economic performance, the reality is that they are not in a position to offend any of their potential customer base. So we believe when we make it clear to them that the people who are looking to buy Christmas gifts for family and friends expect Radio Shack to be Christmas-friendly this year, we believe that we'll get their attention."
AFA wants boycott participants to leave comments on Radio Shack's Facebook page and call the company's corporate office to declare that they will shop elsewhere during the Christmas season unless the company makes some changes. The group is also encouraging participants to "politely" inform local store managers of their intentions.
Fischer says Radio Shack franchise owners will not be pleased with corporate leaders because of the boycott.
"I believe a lot of the pressure will come from the outlet owners and operators themselves," said Fischer.
AFA has released a Naughty or Nice List of the nation's top retailers each year since 2007, according to Randy Sharp, director of special projects for AFA. The list rates companies based on how "Christmas-friendly" they are, and Radio Shack is just one of 11 companies listed as being "against Christmas" this year.
Boycotts are also a part of AFA's annual Christmas campaign, however, and each one has been a success for the organization. In 2007, for example, AFA intervened after a Lowe's holiday catalog referred to Christmas trees as "family trees." The company apologized, blaming the mistake on a "breakdown in the proofing process," according to WND, and is now one of six companies AFA has awarded a "5-star" rating for promoting and celebrating Christmas in an exceptional way.
Sharp says companies typically agree to recognize Christmas shortly after the boycotts begin because they are afraid of losing out on sales during the holiday season.
"They depend on Black Friday to turn a profit for the entire year," said Sharp. "So any negative publicity is bad news and they want to nip it in the bud."
Last year AFA held a boycott of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores, all of which are operated by Gap Inc., and approximately 22,000 people signed the boycott pledge in a matter of hours. Gap Inc. was on the "naughty" side of AFA's list last year, but the company made a turnaround and is now considered a Christmas-friendly retailer.
"It's been a very successful campaign, and we are winning this War on Christmas," said Sharp.