I'm not one to get a chuckle out of my mail, but I have to admit to getting a good laugh out of yesterday's postal delivery. I received a special charter invitation for a new magazine from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Martha Stewart Kids, it's called. Why is that so amusing? Well, you have to realize that the company means Kids as a noun, not a verb.
This isn't yet another published rant, taking shots at Martha. Not only is that low-lying fruit, but I have also supported her publicly in the past. I think the company can succeed by catering to the crafty. The way the company has presented a classy, upscale approach without alienating the arts and crafts masses is lightning in a rhinestone-speckled bottle.
But why Martha Stewart Kids? The company was taking some welcome steps in rubbing out Stewart's name from some of its newer products such as its Everyday Food magazine. I can see where Living Kids might seem morbid and Omnimedia Kids might be perplexing, but why couldn't this be Everyday Kids? If there's a trademark issue there, go elsewhere.
Keep in mind that I don't think Martha's name should be eradicated from the company as a whole. I've come across some people who have called Martha a criminal without understanding the crime she committed. Yes, the circumstances behind her dumping some ImClone Systems
Yet that's the perception that persists in many circles. That's why it's baffling to see a magazine for children take on her name when it's going to have to pass the parental taste test first. Looking over the sample recipes and projects the venture looks like a winner. Using food items to put a face on an open face sandwich? Homemade finger paints? Jigsaw puzzle sandwiches? Coolness. So why sandbag the project by attaching a name to it that some parents may not feel is an appropriate role model?
The company's flagship publishing business has seen revenues slide by 40% over the past year with subscribers and sponsors fleeing. That doesn't mean the quality of the products has slipped, only the public's opinion of the brand. While the company has limited control over how successful it fares with its merchandising business through Kmart
Yes, despite the storm clouds, the stock has outperformed the S&P 500 over the past year, and the company's balance sheet is still strong. But, please, in the name of good common sense change the name of the magazine. Do it for the Kids.
Would you subscribe to Martha Stewart Kids? Have you ever made alphabet sponges or sewn fabric building blocks? What crafts did you come up with to keep your kids busy this summer? All this and more -- in theCrafty Foolsdiscussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks he'll make a paper lantern mobile tonight. Why not? He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.