Over the past few months it seems like the once powerful Martha Stewart has ventured into a new space where she is no longer powerful nor relevant.
Over the past few months it seems like the once powerful Martha Stewart has ventured into a new space where she is no longer powerful nor relevant. Her tweeting of really bad food photos, her JCPenney vs. Macy’s lawsuit and her Match.com dating foray on the TODAY Show (and admitting she had a one night stand) seems a bit out of character for the 72 year-old. She has always been a press hound, and as her company goes from close to a $2 billion value to just about $150 million, it appears that she is using her tried and true tactics to reverse her situation. Last year, the company lost $56 million. Times have changed, and she hasn’t, and her PR tactics are just not working anymore. Does she really think that talking to Letterman about her sex life is appealing to anyone? And while some have suggested that it is her attempt to attract a younger fan base, not sure that the Millennial generation is going to see her as a sex symbol. Did she really think that the front page headline in the New York Post quoting her as saying “She needs a man - for sex” is going to help her company or endear her to her former fan
Martha has been through a lot, no question. After all how many CEOs that wind up serving jail time ever really recover their former glory? There is no doubt that Martha’s influence on how America cooks, eats, entertains, and decorates has been more powerful than that of anyone else. Just as we have seen at Hy-Vee, Safeway, Kroger and Walmart the great CEOs know when it is time to go. For Stewart, no doubt it is a much harder decision since she is the brand. Her once iconic television show failed miserably in spite of having Mark Burnett who is arguably the best television producer today running the show. But wait, it probably failed because he wasn’t actually running the show…and she was.
Living the Good Long Life, Martha’s 79th and most recent book is an attempt to once again re-energize her brand based on her tips and observations on aging. While one could argue that living to 72 may give you the knowledge of aging, the question is if Martha really is the expert in this area. She is proclaiming that she is, by naming the generation about to hit 65 as “the silver tsunami” - which sounds like a direct rip-off from Ken Dychtwald’s 1990 best selling Age Wave (that had a tsunami on it’s cover) and in his thousands of presentations…oh yea, and even his company logo.
The saddest part of the destruction of this brand is that Martha and her products really had changed many millions of peoples lives for the better.