Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: McDain’s Restaurant and The Soap Opera


Brand Winner…

And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Winner:  McDain’s Restaurant


Loser:  The Soap Opera



Folks, this week our winner is a Pennsylvania restaurant that made a courageous decision to honor it’s Target Market.

Mike Vuick, the owner of McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center, decided that his customers deserved a peaceful, child-free environment.  After July 16th, children six and under won’t be welcome.

Many people have reacted to Vuick’s decision with outrage, but, fact is, he made the right decision for his restaurant’s brand.  After all, he isn’t running a family restaurant and understands that his patrons are people who are coming there for this reason.  Making this a policy strengthens the McDain’s brand.

Vuick isn’t anti-kid, he is pro-brand and pro-civility.  As he says about kids, “[they] might be the center of their parent’s universe, as it should be, [but] they’re not the center of everyone else’s universe.”

Bottom line, Vuick should take heart.  Olde Salty’s, a restaurant that made news a few years ago for it’s “No Screaming Kids” sign, has prospered.  996 customers have walked through its doors because of it took a stand.

As the great Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”



ABC’s announcement that two more soap operas, All My Children and One Life To Live, are going off the air confirms the end of the line for a venerable brand: the soap opera.

A production company has come on board to keep the shows going on the web.  Sure, they may have a life online, but it’s hard to see online paying the way that broadcast television once did.  There are still devoted fans but probably not enough of them.

Fact is, the brand model itself is probably beyond fixing. 

To understand why, let’s take a look at the history of soap operas.  Soap operas were invented to reach a specific Target Market: stay-at-home moms during the depression. 

The shows were designed as an innovative entertainment platform that could help Procter & Gamble sell soap and other products –that’s where the soap in soap opera came from.  Initially soaps appeared on radio, but eventually they made the leap onto television. 

And for a very long time, things went very, very well.

But times have changed.  Viewer numbers have steadily fallen in the last twenty years.  Not only is the Target Market for soap operas hard to pin down now, but many of the benefits that daytime soaps offered, like continuing story-lines and relationship focus, have been picked up by prime time drama.

The problem is that even if the Target Market still exists, the TM can’t be counted on to be in one place at one time.  And that’s not even taking into account Tivoers who will watch without the commercials.

Still, as with every great brand in history, soap operas have left a lasting legacy, and, maybe, just maybe, there really will be life for them online.  Though I wouldn’t bet on it.

And, remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind. 



TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY –  Brands succeed when they honor their Target Market.








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