Kellogg Co. is located between a rock and a difficult place. The grain giant announced on Nov. 29 that it was receiving announcements from Breitbart, the right-wing news agency that received the most awards after its CEO, Steve Bannon, was elected senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.
The #StopFundingHate campaign asked brands to withdraw their Breitbart ads on the grounds that they held racist and partisan views and, under this microscope, EarthLink, Allstate, and others rejected him as an advertising partner. Kellogg spokesperson Kris Charles, quoted on Bloomberg, says the site violates our values as a company. It’s important to note that Kellogg’s may not have chosen to advertise on Breitbart; in many cases, brands work with advertising services that show their ads on a wide variety of sites. As noted in the Bloomberg article, one of the companies, AppNexus, banned Breitbart for violating hate speech rules.
But Kellogg’s was probably the last straw for Breitbart, who in a post titled “#DUMPKELLOGGS: BREAKFAST BRAND BLACKS EXPRESSLY HATES 45,000,000 READERS”
• states that Breitbart’s position is indeed conventional (apparently based on the discovery that he was the most engaged political content editor on Facebook in May / June 2016)
• Kellogg said “a society out of reach that shows false leftist stories”
• presents a #DumpKelloggs petition urging his “very careful and loyal readers” not to buy the brand’s products
• Declare war, internet style, end with a simple “Kellogg’s: #WAR”
The rhetoric aside, it’s true. There is no way you can have this: if you refuse to do business with a medium for fear that people will read an ideology in it, you can expect people to read the opposite ideology in the rejection. Kellogg’s wish was probably never announced at Breitbart, and he’s avoiding all the hype, which is probably the lesson for marketers: go ahead and don’t rely blindly on an ad presentation tool.
There is another lesson for more Machiavellian communicators on how Breitbart continues to work from the periphery to the mainstream, presenting the issue as the radical left against ordinary people. It wants to become a more central part of American conservative life, and that kind of wedge serves as a fulcrum on that particular climb.
Will the “Stop Hate Funding” campaign have a lasting impact on the media?
Newspaper ads may already be in trouble, but a new campaign could get even more off the ground.
In recent days, there has been some debate about the conflict between a brand’s accepted values and the publications in which it prefers to advertise.
It seems that many customers are dissatisfied with their favorite brands investing money in what they consider unpleasant news sales to reach a large audience with their products.
“Drop by drop, our company is being poisoned by actions that sell hate,” said the Stop Funding Hate campaign, which calls on major brands to remove their ads from some UK publications. His campaign video, which has been viewed 3 million times at the time of writing, was released this week and received more than 98,000 shares, in addition to 50,000 likes.
They have a goal: “Build an effective and efficient campaign that convinces advertisers to get support from the Daily Mail, Sun [sic] and Daily Express.” Negative brand associations?
One of the main arguments of the campaign video is that advertisers are very concerned about what people think of them.
The campaign hopes to force advertisers to post ads, showing that people hate brands that sell their products along with bad headlines and fight sensationalism.
He claims that advertising a brand in newspapers and spreading hate-based headlines on the front page not only incites hatred but also creates unwanted negative associations with the brand that shows social activism.
This is a difficult problem. Brands may not want their non-marginal newspapers to be mad at them for advertising in these headlines, but they are also very interested in offering their products and services to the thousands of readers the publications give them access to.