A&Pee?

This video cracks me up. It's made by two college kids who worked at A&P, and it's a parody, called "Produce Paradise". It's funny and smart, and mildly disgusting, but overall, just a blip on the YouTube radar. Until now.

You see, even I, a self professed supermarket GURU (having worked with the category for over 10 years), would have had NO idea that this was filmed in an A&P. That is, until the retailer announced that it was one of the growing companies that taking legal action due to YouTube, suing these two produce pervs for $1 million bucks-- since it shows them mishandling, and even apparently peeing on A&P's lettuce. "Produce Paradise", says these two cutie patooties, was an assignment for class...and they did, in fact shoot it at work.

The Youtube video has over 76,000 hits as of this morning, and I have no doubt that since it's been written about everywhere and released on Mediapost this morning, it will have a heck of a lot more. I just finished reading through all of the "Suck it A&P" comments...and needless to say, the YouTube community supports these boys.

Meanwhile, back in REALITY at A&P, things don't look great. Sales are flat, and the company is bleeding dough, despite its acquisition of Pathmark earlier this year. In a move that actually might work, they are abandoning all southern parts of their brand (which were never really it's strength) and they are focusing on their core brands--A&P, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, Super Fresh, and Food Basics stores--in the Northeast.

Okay, A&P, what's your motivation here? Prior to this suit, YouTube viewers would have no idea that this was filmed in an A&P. And, generally speaking, the YouTube community understands parody. Also, the Grandmas who would complain about such a video are not hanging around online, checking YouTube for the latest updates. So what's the deal? Is it to show your DIE HARD COMMITMENT to food safety? Here's the quote from the CEO: "We are appalled that anyone would glorify the disgusting behavior by our former associates," A&P President and CEO Eric Claus says in a statement. "I find it disturbing that the focus of this story has not been on food safety. The video shows them licking, gesturing, and doing absolutely deplorable things with produce. This is in total contrast to the food safety standards that we uphold as a company. Our actions are reflective of the importance that we place on the integrity of the product we sell to our customers." What a blowhole. And why the lawsuit for 1 million? Do they attribute a loss in revenue to people being turned off by this video? If anything, the video probably helped slumping sales. Except, of course, now that this story has hit the mainstream, grandma's got a better chance of seeing it, and you tubers have got a better chance of anyone below the age of 70 boycotting your chain. But perhaps you did this to GET people talking about your brand. If you check out the boys' account of the suit , you'll see they think it was an inside job. The video had just 200 hits prior to the complaint and ultimate firing of these boys. Is this a PR stunt to get the word out that A&P cares about produce? If so, uh-oh. Project backfired.

Now, A&P, you are in a lose lose. How does theKbuzz recommend fixing it?

Contact those college boys. Drop that suit. Have them make a parody of Produce Paradise....fixing their wrongs. A rapping apology if you will. THEN, stick with your core brands, but, for goodness sakes, unify them. You have TOOOOO many brands in the North East. It's too expensive to market all of these brands against the monster Stop & Shop train, who is (literally) eating your lunch. You've got a long road ahead of you. May the Produce be with you.