The Brands That Are Boycotting Facebook Ad Campaigns And Why
The list of companies boycotting Facebook Ads is growing every passing day. Over 200+ companies have already started disassociating themselves from Facebook’s paid marketing campaigns. Many multi-national brands like Coca- Cola, Diageo and Unilever are some of the names to headline the boycotting.
Most companies that have boycotted Facebook, have given Facebook’s indifference to hateful content as their sole reason. They do not want to be associated with social media platforms that don't do enough to keep racist, false and dangerous content off its platform such as Facebook. In fact, the social media platform even allowed users to call for violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of several Black Americans. It all started with Donald Trump tweeting "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." in the wake of protest over George Floyd’s death. The platform left this post untouched as per Facebook’s policy of free expression. Meanwhile, a similar post on Twitter carried a warning label attached to it.
There is a wild speculation by many that this Ad Boycotting is a cover for broader marketing cost-cutting associated with the coronavirus pandemic. However, Facebook has always been a massively efficient channel for ad campaigns for many businesses. Thus, according to experts, cutting out the platform can be a major sacrifice, especially for those who rely on it to bring in new customers.
Let us glance through some of the biggest brands that have boycotted Facebook ads so far…
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This major sportswear brand is pausing all paid advertising on Facebook, globally. While they did stress on the reason being their stand against racism, hate and discrimination; they did not formally join the #StopHateForProfit advertiser boycott.
“Racist, discriminatory, and hateful online content have no place in our brand or in society,” said the spokesperson of the company, “As we focus on better practices within our company and communities to ensure lasting change in the fight against racism, Adidas and Reebok will also pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram globally throughout July.”
Ben & Jerry's
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The ice cream company released their official statement calling out Facebook for using their platform for dividing the nation, suppressing voters, foment and fan the flames of racism and violence, and undermine democracy. They joined the #stophateforprofit campaign to show their solidarity to the ongoing Black Live Matter Movement.
Blue Bottle Coffee
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While Blue Bottle Coffee holds majority stake in Nestle, it came as a great shock when Blue Bottle Coffee announced in their blog that it was joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott and pausing all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in July. They even addressed the changes made by Mark Zuckerberg after the allegations were made.
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Coca Cola published their official statement on their company website stating that they will not indulge in paid advertising with all social media platforms for a month, to assess their advertising policies and make suitable reforms.
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Joy Howard, the company's CMO, recently posted on the company’s blog about their decision to pull advertisements for at least the month of July. Howard has called on CMOs from other tech companies to join the boycott.
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On June 28th, Diageo, the multinational beverage company announced in a tweet about their pausing of global advertising on all social media platforms starting July 1. The company includes brands such as Smirnoff, Baileys, Johnnie Walker and Guinness.
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“We are pausing all national social media advertising for the next 30 days to re-evaluate our presence on these platforms,” Ford said in a statement to Ad Age. “The existence of content that includes hate speech, violence and racial injustice on social platforms needs to be eradicated. We are actively engaged with industry initiatives led by the Association of National Advertisers to drive more accountability, transparency and trusted measurement to clean up the digital and social media ecosystem.”
Ad Age reports that Ford spent $2.9 million on advertising with Facebook, year to date, but only $57,000 the past 30 days, according to data analytics firm Pathmatics.
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HP just happens to be the company that was once home to Facebook Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio, who was brought in last year to mend Facebook's image.
"HP is a purpose-driven brand and we expect all platforms on which we advertise to uphold responsible policies that prevent our ads from appearing alongside objectionable content, regardless of the source. We have expressed deep concerns to Facebook and are stopping U.S. advertising on the platform until we see more robust safeguards in place. We are also reviewing our social media strategy across all markets and platforms, and we will take additional actions as needed to protect our brand and combat hateful content." – In their Blog
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American Honda Company Inc. has joined in electing to halt advertising spend on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. The automaker shared this news on one of its affiliated Twitter accounts with the hashtag #StopHateForProfit, which forms part of the campaign of the same name.
In its tweet, Honda linked to an earlier June release with the powerful message that "philosophy without action is worthless," which were the words of Soichiro Honda, the company's founder. Honda allegedly spent around $6 million on Facebook advertising last year, so it takes only a basic calculation to ascertain what the social media giant is losing out on.
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Tech giant Microsoft had suspended Facebook ads back in May, well before the organized boycotts started. Moreover, Axios reports that Microsoft's pause on Facebook ads was out of a concern about where its ads are shown, rather than Facebook's policies, but that the company has recently expanded that suspension globally. Microsoft may be the biggest advertiser yet to quit Facebook this year as per reports by Pathmatics.
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Fox Business reported that the food and beverage conglomerate had "quietly" joined the Facebook, Instagram boycott with no official announcement on a policy that will see the company pause advertising on social media in July and August globally. Pepsico is the parent company of Pepsi, Gatorade and Mountain Dew.
Proctor and Gamble
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Procter & Gamble Co., which is considered an advertising trendsetter, said it is reviewing all the platforms it advertises on for objectionable content, according to The Wall Street Journal, and won’t work “on or near content that is determined as hateful, denigrating or discriminatory”.
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Starbucks announced Sunday in an online statement that it is pausing advertisements on all social-media platforms. The coffee giant said it would continue discussions internally, with their media partners and with civil-rights organizations in the effort to stop the spread of hate speech.
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Unilever, which owns brands including Dove and Hellman's, has announced that it will halt ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, citing the spread of hate speech on digital platforms.
In their tweet, Unilever said it would halt ads on the social media platforms through at least the end of the year, noting advertising "would not add value to people and society."
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Verizon stated that it is pulling advertising on Facebook until the company “can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable.” A company spokesperson said the pause applies to both Facebook and Instagram.