CMO Today: Scientology Targets A&E Advertisers; Amazon’s Athletic Wear Push; Why Columbus Is a Retail Test Bed

CMO Today: Scientology Targets A&E Advertisers; Amazon’s Athletic Wear Push; Why Columbus Is a Retail Test Bed 553 368 C-Suite Network
Actress Leah Remini held the award for outstanding informational series or special for “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 9.
Actress Leah Remini held the award for outstanding informational series or special for “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 9.

The Church of Scientology has long been famous for going after its critics. Now it is adopting the playbook of social media activists like Sleeping Giants and targeting advertisers. As CMO Today’s Alexandra Bruell reports, Scientologists are writing to advertisers—including Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler and Geico—demanding they boycott the A&E show “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” The group behind the effort, Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination (STAND), allege the series is inciting threats and acts of violence against members of the church. Is the campaign working? Some advertisers have pulled their ads from the show, but it isn’t clear whether the letters prompted their decision or simply the wider controversy around the content within the series. A&E says it stands behind the show, which won an Emmy earlier this year.

Amazon has apparel brands against a wall. Some brands have been resistant to listing their full inventory on Amazon, wanting to hold back some products to sell within their own carefully controlled environments, where they can dictate price and the merchandising environment. But Amazon is increasingly sending a message to any reluctant brands: If you leave gaps in our inventory, we’ll fill them. As Bloomberg reports, Amazon is working with some of the biggest athletic-apparel suppliers as it barges its way into private-label sportswear. News of Amazon’s activewear push sent shares of Lululemon, Under Armour and Nike down on Friday (although Nike’s shares recovered before the close). Established activewear brands are already having a tough time amid stiffer competition and discounting. Will Amazon’s new athletic line—which, if its other forays into clothing are anything to go by, will carry a trendy name that many people won’t realize is backed by Amazon—prove one disruption too far?

If you were asked to think about where you might stumble across cool new retail concepts, you might conjure up images of slick cafe-clothing setups in Williamsburg or Silicon Valley tech stores that double up…