Home Month and Year September 2020 Social Media Ad Boycott

Social Media Ad Boycott

London: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Windsor Castle in Ascot Landau carriage during a procession after getting married at St Georges Chapel

Most global, national and Calgary businesses acknowledge the impossibility of reliably calculating ROI when it comes to social media advertising.

There’s a whole lot of talk¾not limited to the vitriol of partisan U.S. politicking¾about social media’s unfiltered and often irresponsible stance on misinformation, hate and the business advertisers who make it possible. Lots of talk but nobody does anything about it. Until now.

Some mega-celebrities and major corporate advertisers are now flexing their clout and trying hard. Now, two of the planet’s most high-profile VIPs are joining-in with an international, social media ad protest campaign.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are calling on their heavy duty and influential connections to think¾and help do something¾about how social media allows the online spread of misinformation and hate. They have joined (and are speaking out for) the international Stop Hate For Profit campaign which is promoting¾with much heavyweight success¾and urging global CEOs and other business leaders to flex their advertising muscle and put pressure on social media to take responsibility and smarten up.

In July, major advertisers like Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, BMO, Verizon, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Ford, Pfizer, Adidas, Starbucks and Honda pulled their advertising from social media for at least a month or longer.

Facebook is the best known (not the only) and the biggest “Stop Hate for Profit” target and likely the most notorious social media offender. Last year, with more than eight million advertisers, Facebook brought in more than 69 billion in ad revenue globally

To underscore Harry and Meghan’s support for the world wide ad boycott, Harry published an op-ed in Fast Company (the world’s leading progressive business magazine) explaining his social media skeptic position and urging business leaders to reconsider their advertising on social media.

In the op-ed, he also mentioned the impact that digital ad spending has had on conventional media. “The standards and practices advertisers rely upon when placing their commercials in print or on television, for example, do not apply when it comes to the online space, arguably the largest medium in the world. And for the first time in history,” he wrote. “The ad spend in this relatively lawless space is beginning to overshadow the more traditional spaces.”

A senior executive with Unilever made the point that, when all is said and done, advertising on social media condones and supports what social media does and how it does it. “Fake news, health misinformation, racism, sexism, terrorists spreading messages of hate, toxic content directed at children are all parts of the internet we have ended up with, is a million miles from where we thought it would take us. Advertising allows it to happen.”

Admitting that he is a technology booster, Harry included a faint message of hope for the future. “The internet has enabled us to be joined together. We are now plugged into a vast nervous system that, yes, reflects our good, but too often also magnifies and fuels our bad. We can—and must—encourage these platforms to redesign themselves in a more responsible and compassionate way.”