Small Business Co-opted for a Campaign Ad?

An Ohio store owner is angry after unknowingly appearing in a campaign ad.
August 09, 2012

Having your business featured prominently in a TV ad you didn't pay for—great for business, right?

Not if it's a political ad, says one small-business owner.

Ohio specialty food store owner Debra Krause-McDonell wants her store cut from a campaign ad for President Barack Obama because it's hurting her business, she told the Cincinnati Enquirer. According to Krause-McDonell, she didn't give permission for Krause's to appear; and customers are telling her they will no longer shop there because of the ad. 

Not Invited to the Party

Several seconds into the Obama ad, an employee from the Cincinnati shop—which features more than 100 German products—is shown from behind, pushing up the security door. A voice-over from Obama tells viewers about the sacrifices small-business owners make to build successful businesses.

“I’ve been put into a position I didn’t ask for. I’m a little angry,” Krause-McDonell says. She adds that she'd be equally as angry if her shop appeared in a Mitt Romney commercial—though Hamilton County Democratic Party director Caleb Faux disagrees.

“From my conversations with her, it’s clear she’s not an Obama supporter. So she’s got a political agenda,” Faux says. (It's worth noting that part of the reason this reached the media was because the Hamilton County Republican Party sent out an e-mail about the ad that accused Democrats of not responding to the owner's concerns.)

The Door Defense

 What did she think a film crew was doing near her shop? Krause-McDonell's store manager claims he was told the filming was for a video about riot door protection (the metal garage-type doors that pull down and lock to protect storefronts). That actually may be true, Faux says, who researched the advertisement and spoke with Obama campaign officials in Columbus.

He wasn't able to do anything about the ad on the weekend. It was scheduled to end Monday.