Lowe’s stands by decision to pull ads

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Branding expert Laura Ries said Lowe's made two mistakes. The first was advertising during a show that could be construed as controversial. The second was pulling advertising too quickly.

“For a big national brand like Lowe's, they’ve always got to be incredibly careful when advertising during any show that could be deemed controversial,” she said. “Will it seriously damage the brand in the long term? Probably not. But it is a serious punch in the stomach.”

Overall, analysts said the furor is unlikely to damage Lowe's brand in the long term.

“For a company that generates $50 billion in annual revenue, I don’t view this as something that will have a meaningful impact,” said Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom. “I’m hopeful this blows over and I’m certain management is as well.”

Still, some worry Lowe's ad flap could hurt Muslims, particularly those among the 150,000 to 200,000 who live in the Detroit area. Earlier this year, Florida pastor Terry Jones held an anti-Islam rally outside Dearborn City Hall after being barred from protesting outside a Muslim mosque in the city.

The burning of a Quran in March at Jones’ church in Florida led to a series of violent protests in Afghanistan that killed more than a dozen people.

“Metro Detroit and Dearborn have been the focal point of a number of anti-Muslim movements,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter. “There are organized forces in our society that want to marginalize American Muslims to the point where they don’t want to see any portrayals of Muslims that regular Americans can connect to.”

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Corey Williams in Detroit, Rachel Zoll in New York and Mitch Stacy in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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