My new column is out in The Drum:
Bill Bernbach once said that “a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.” Well, the marketing industry is finally stepping up to the challenge.
As of yesterday (7 July), a public Google Drive spreadsheet maintained by Sleeping Giants listed nearly 1,000 businesses that had joined the Stop Hate For Profit campaign. The movement is encouraging advertisers to boycott Facebook until the social network makes a better effort to remove racist material posted on the platform.
“I don’t see those big brands come back if there hasn’t been structural change,” World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) chief executive Stephan Loerke told CNBC on Friday. “That’s my take on the basis of my conversations with them.”
The effect of the coronavirus on marketing and economies in general will likely be brutal but short. Earlier boycotts against Facebook and Google had negligible results. But this time might be different because of the greater business and social contexts. The Black Lives Matter movement will be the issue that changes marketing the most.
“Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the US, we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the US,” a Unilever spokesperson told me in a statement.
“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary. We will maintain our total planned media investment in the US by shifting to other media.”