abcApril 18th was an extraordinary night for soap fans: The iconic vacuum company Hoover put an announcement up on its Facebook page saying, in part, that it was going to stop advertising on ABC in protest of the cancellations of All My Children and One Life to Live. News of this caught fire on various soap site Twitter feeds, and Hoover went from approximately 1,200 Facebook fans to 9,000 in a matter of hours. This morning’s count stood at 10,000. Hoover started trending on Twitter, too, where its following went from hundreds to 3,000. From there, the entertainment media picked it up, with sites like EW and carrying the story, along with the Today show. Soap stars like Nancy Lee Grahn and Robin Strasser have been spreading the news, building a movement in the space of an evening — and demonstrating the power of a fan base. You can’t buy that kind of buzz, and you can’t buy those kind of demos.

Speaking of demographics, although ABC states that soap fans are getting “older and older,” we also have more and more buying power. I know I have a hell of a lot more dough to throw around now than I did when I was in that coveted 18-24 range. I’ve never really understood the logic in that (and I can afford to go and buy a dang Hoover right now if I need one).

ABC responded in its usual droll way. TV Guide put up a statement from the network that read, in part:

An ABC executive, requesting anonymity, contacted TV Guide Magazine to offer the network’s POV. “Usually advertisers stop advertising when they want to cancel a show, not the other way around,” states the suit. “We’ve said that the cancellation of AMC and OLTL was about money and ratings, so [the Hoover boycott] is just counterintuitive. You don’t save something by taking money away.”

Counterintuitive or not, Hoover is pulling its ads from all of ABC, sending a clear message to the network’s bottom line — and winning over millions of loyal soap fans at the same moment many of them are mobilizing boycotts of the entire lineup. They’ve been taken for granted and marginalized, but soap fans aren’t going away. If you or one of your loved ones love the soaps, visit me at The Wub Tub to find out how you can help in the fight to keep them a part of daytime!

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