Hallmark is facing backlash this week for changing a Christmas carol’s traditional lyrics in order to…seem more politically correct? Not offend people? I’m not entirely sure.
On an ornament decked out like a Christmas sweater, Hallmark removed the word “gay” from the lyrics to “Deck the Halls,” and instead printed the words “Don we now our FUN apparel!” Immediately, the company received complaints from people upset at the implication that the word “gay” had been “hijacked by the same-sex relationship community.” (In other news, that’s a great new catchphrase.)
"The trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.’ That’s the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it," the company said in a statement.
However, Hallmark updated the company’s response to the PR nightmare induced by the sweater ornament to include an apology on Thursday. “We’ve been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we’re sorry to have caused so much concern,” Hallmark said. “We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products, and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn’t have changed the lyrics on the ornament.”
I’m just…confused by this? What is happening here?
The lesson: Sometimes, it’s just better to leave things alone. Hallmark probably had its heart in the right place, but the execution was questionable at best. The move suggested that they think consumers couldn’t figure out the difference on their own. (They could.) The move also suggested that people were offended by the line. (They weren’t.)
For a company the size of Hallmark, they should probably know better. Focus group that stuff if you aren’t sure.