Hopefully the executives at Sydney’s 2DayFM have taken down some notes from Jenny Craig about managing their eating habits during a Sandilands-fuelled crisis. They should probably keep them handy in the year ahead.
This week, Jenny (previously known as Jenny Craig) threw the company’s support behind the Kyle & Jackie O Show, then 24 hours later withdrew their sponsorship amid massive public outcry. The brand’s international Facebook page was overwhelmed by comments from Australian contributors.
Let’s face it, someone was always going to make the first move and sponsor the show in the wake of Kyle’s latest outburst, so let’s give Jenny a break. However, it’s still a big issue for the brand, which says they didn’t know how Australians felt about Kyle.
The Jenny sponsorship & un-sponsorship is the latest in a series of debacles facing the infamous Australian radio show. Two years ago, Sandilands said Magda Szubanski, coincidently a former Jenny Craig spokesperson, would lose more weight in a concentration camp. At the time, Kyle was temporarily taken off the air. (Thank god, we all thought!! But alas, it did not last.)
Eighteen months later and Kyle made headlines again when he described a News Limited journalist as a “fat slag” and threatened to hunt her down after she wrote a negative story about his TV show.
Does anyone else see the running theme? Doesn’t it sound like a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Kyle should take a long hard look in the mirror before he opens his mouth again.
In the lead up to Christmas, Holden was among a number of sponsors to pull their advertising from the show. This followed a petition signed by 32,530 people calling for sponsors to drop the show.
Yesterday was the show’s first day back after the summer ratings break. I bet many fingers were crossed hoping people had forgotten the incident and were ready for more of the inane humour, but the folks on Twitter and Facebook were never going to let that happen.
Jenny’s first response was to stay the course and tackle it head on. But within hours it was obvious that this approach wasn’t going to work, and they made the decision to pull the advertising and tell their customers they had listened.
The company released this statement:
“One thing about Jenny Craig is that we listen. We listen, we understand and we make an enormous effort to walk in the shoes of others. We badly misjudged public perception of Kyle Sandilands. We have taken what has been said seriously. Mel B has happily been part of the 2DAY FM Breakfast show for the better part of last year. Our intention was to support our ambassador in her broader media role. We feel sorry we have offended so many people, underestimated the sentiment against Kyle and are clearly upset that we made such a mistake. We have instructed 2DAY FM that our advertising is to be discontinued on the Kyle & Jackie O show, and the rest of their schedule immediately.”
The pull of the Kyle & Jackie O’s large audience was one reason to try and ride out the storm. Part of Jenny’s initial approach was a Twitter hashtag #tellkylewhattyouthink calling for questions and comments to Kyle. A good attempt at turning an issue around, but it failed to gain traction and didn’t give Kyle the opportunity to confess to his sins and move on.
The radio network is continuing to support Kyle, even though it looks like he’s lost the show more than $10m. Can Kyle and Jackie O weather another storm? Will listeners continue to switch stations? Which advertiser will be brave or stupid enough to sponsor the show in the wake of Jenny’s departure?
All of these questions and more will be answered as the year unfolds.
Jack & the c word crew