Woah, I totally forgot to post this article in the American Lit Group (I put it in Biz back in July)
An incredible article from Fast Company
that would make a brilliant companion non-fiction piece for the novel a Scarlet Letter or any discussion about gender and equity in contemporary American business and culture.
"Behind the Rebranding Campaign of Wal-Mart’s Scarlet Woman"
Nearly three years after being fired by Wal-Mart, marketer Julie Roehm faces her toughest rebranding campaign ever.
Some great teachable passages from the article:
"Let's face it, if you're an attractive woman, they either assume you're stupid or they want you to be"
If only. In March 2007, The New York Times
ran a leaked email that Roehm had allegedly sent to her Wal-Mart subordinate, Sean Womack: "I think about us together all of the time. Little moments like watching your face when you kiss me." The Times described it as part of the countersuit Wal-Mart filed against Roehm three months after both she and Womack, a vice president, were fired. The suit also included a statement by one of Womack's "friends": "Womack had Roehm 'pinned' against the wall in an intimate pose" in a Fayetteville bar.
Instead, Roehm has chosen a more treacherous path, taking on the most challenging rebranding campaign of her career: herself. "If I'm going to be stuck with this scarlet letter," she says, "I'm going to dress it up and make it the prettiest damn scarlet letter I can possibly make it."
It was also at Chrysler that Roehm got her first taste of the dark side of risk. In 2003, when launching the butch Dodge Durango, she decided the brand should sponsor the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view Super Bowl halftime show featuring supermodels playing football in their panties. The idea was affordable and hit her demographic dead-on, but once family advocacy groups -- who threatened to picket Chrysler dealerships -- discovered that a mother of two young sons was behind the campaign, "I became the pinup girl for the woman who has no respect for other women," she says. "It was like I was promoting sex slavery or something." Roehm's picture was suddenly in USA Today, which also criticized her for other Chrysler ads involving urinals and wife swapping.
More than a few observers of her saga believe Roehm was disproportionately vilified because of her sex. "If we torched the career of every CEO who's had an affair," says her former Chrysler boss Jim Schroer, "we'd end up cleaning house at every Fortune 500 company." But her undeniable Page Six impulses may continue to bedevil her. Last summer, she accepted an offer to play a Simon Cowell -- like judge alongside Kiss front man Gene Simmons on Jingles, a yet-to-air ad-themed reality competition on CBS. It doesn't take a CMO to recognize that it's not exactly the reputational reboot she needs.
Still, Roehm insists she's ready to get past her past. "That's the great thing about America; people love a comeback," she says. "I'm counting on it. I, as much as anybody, am counting on it."
Whole article here: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/137/the-scarlet-woman-of-benton...