Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Advertising abandons TV hosts show

Diageo, the drinks giant, became the latest major UK company last night, to pull its advertising from the controversial Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's show. Diageo, who makes Guinness and Johnnie Walker, followed a similar move by Waitrose, a major grocer, who stopped advertising on in the time slot of the outspoken television show's host, which airs on the Sky TV platform in Britain. This removal of advertising by both companies has put pressure on Tesco who as of last night still refuses to cancel involvement in the show.

Kellogg's, the famous cereal maker also still promotes its brands during that television show's time slot; however, this may not last as they have stated they are going to be coming to a decision regarding their advertising in the near future. Advertisers pulled their advertising in a show of anger over statements made by Mr. Beck during the course of his television show. This statement was that Barack Obama was a racist and that the U.S. President has a "deep-seated hatred for white people". His comments to that effect incensed the pressure group called ‘Color of Change', who in turn, called for advertisers to "exercise corporate responsibility" and to boycott his show in Britain as well as the United States. Since Mr. Beck's attack on President Obama, more that 60 major US companies which includes Wal-Mart, Campbell's Soups, Capital One and Bank of America have stopped advertising during Mr. Beck's time slot in response to the call.

Waitrose, which is owned by John Lewis Partnership, said yesterday that it had taken action after having received complaints from their customers; though the company declined to state how many complaints they had received. A Waitrose spokeswoman said "This is not a politically motivated act, it was simply listening to customers' views and responding to them" Waitrose has withdrawn all of its advertising from the Fox News Channel effective immediately and for all future television advertising campaigns.

Tesco took its stance saying that their advertising is not a statement of support for or against any content on the channel. As with many other businesses, Tesco buys its advertising space as a package that includes many different channels and time slots. Kellogg's is currently in discussions concerning its advertising and will probably be coming up with a decision in the next few days. They have already said they are aware of the issue and that they are looking at it closely. Time will tell if they decide to pull their advertising as a statement of support for those that oppose the comments made by Mr. Beck. Advertisers have much to consider when it comes to the question of removing advertising. They have contracts to consider as well as popularity of time slots. It's a foregone conclusion that these companies will take a good look at their advertising dollar and how it is spent, before making a move to cancel any commercial advertising contracts containing time slots within the period Mr. Beck's show airs.