Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anak dara Macik Anne: Sheer idiocy or a really bad corporate strategy?

Pic sourced from the internet.

To date, the explanation on Auntie Anne's halal status given by one of its executives on Facebook has garnered more than 8,000 shares. Safe to say, her post is now viral.

Sadly, this was a stupid move.

Actually, stupid doesn't even begin to cover it. It was idiotic and moronic. I say this because, the exec had posted the 'explanation' on her personal Facebook post, signing it off as 'Anak Dara Macik Anne', probably alluding to the recently famous Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, also courtesy of social media.

Allow me to detail why I think her explanation was stupid. First of all, she works for a company which, as logic would assume, must have a proper headquarters, complete with their own Public Relations or Corporate Communications department. They should because, the company that owns the Auntie Anne's franchise in Malaysia, Chrisna Jenio Sdn Bhd, is a registered private limited company and has been in operations since 1996. They also have 45 outlets across the country.

With that said, why didn't they issue an official statement? While many have been applauding the exec for providing an explanation, these people fail to see that what she did was actually rather juvenile.

However, the main reason why I feel her Facebook post was stupid was because she had opted to include the 'pretzel dog' bit in it.

If Auntie Anne's had bothered to issue a statement, any public relations officer with half a mind would not include 'sordid' details.

There is no reason to inform the public on why the application was rejected and get into specifics, especially when the bigger issue here is why has it taken 20 years for the pretzel chain to apply for a halal certification? What I would like to know is when did they first submit their application to Jakim?

This is why with regards to the whole 'dog' fiasco that blew up the past few days, I place the blame solely on the idiotic Facebook post by the exec.

I stress that there was no need for her to mention the 'pretzel dog' bit because according to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today, he said Jakim never banned the name. Instead, he said that there were compromises that could be made.

"If (an establishment) wants to protect a name, compromises can be made in the sense as well. But for Auntie Anne's, it wasn't a rejection, it was just a proposal. At the end of the day, they can't be denied a certificate just because of the name," Jamil Khir said, as reported by a news report on Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

If the pretzel dog matter had never been mentioned, the internet would not have exploded over the past few days about food names.

It went from pretzel dogs to hot dogs to root beers, to turkey ham to beef bacon, even to the extent of UK's Daily Mail carrying a story, headlined, "Hot Dogs will be banned in Malaysia unless restaurants agree to change their name because they sound too 'dirty' to be halal.'

Of course this was clearly a spin of an epic proportion, and I can't blame the exec for Daily Mail's spin, I stand by the fact that this wouldn't have happened if only Auntie Anne's had the good sense of issuing an official statement.

And it's not just Daily Mail, our 'dog' issue has also been carried by the BBC, RT (Russian network), Fox News, CBS News, New York Daily News, and I don't know how many others. So I guess a 'congratulations' is in order for 'anak dara Macik Anne'.

This brings me to the question of whether the exec went rogue (on the explanation) or was it a corporate strategy by Chrisna Jenio Sdn Bhd?

Either way, both moves were stupid.

While maybe the exec enjoyed her 15 seconds of fame thanks to her Facebook post, and also, while many may disagree with me, I stand by what I say, that her move was idiotic and does not reflect the proper conduct of an employee, or a company (if this was a move sanctioned by the company). - FH

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