According to Kotler, advertising is ‘any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of goods, services, or ideas by an identified sponsor’. So, best practice for promoting goods, services or ideas is obviously to put them in front of the best audience possible. Whether it’s a billboard thousands of people pass every day, on the side of a bus that reaches millions of commuters… Or maybe a newspaper with an astronomical readership.
However, maybe this is about to change. Stop Funding Hate (and more recently Sleeping Giants in the US) are organisations born with the intentions of raising awareness of the standards of journalism within certain media groups. According to the Stop Funding Hate website, hate crime is now being ‘fuelled and legitimised’ by some media groups. So, where do advertisers come in? Well, we need to advertise in the best spaces possible otherwise what’s the point? Yes, we have to come up with compelling creative concepts and ideas to engage potential customers, but we also need to work out how to get these ideas in front of potential customers.
The Daily Mail, which is the main newspaper Stop Funding Hate is targeting is the most popular newspaper in the UK boasting a readership of close to 24 million. Is it right to boycott The Daily Mail? Or is it a threat on free speech/press?
On the one hand there are articles from The Daily Mail that make you question why anyone would support it – even Twitter accounts dedicated to the comments section. However it’s not The Daily Mail that people are in solidarity with – it’s free speech. Figures from all across the political spectrum have come out with differing opinions on this, meaning it’s not just a simple Left/Right issue.
So, what does this mean for advertisers and marketers?
Obviously it’s not as simple as an advertising blackout for any media source that has ever been wrong – we’d all just end up creating flyers for everything with massive disclaimers. But do advertisers have a responsibility to recognise that some businesses core target market will react in a divisive fashion towards certain affiliations? Or is it worth sticking to your guns, and recognising that you can’t please everyone – and may even win some respect for respecting others views?
Like almost everything with advertising, I think it’s a question of context and a little bit of common sense.
If you are advertising something in Merseyside, just don’t have affiliations with The Sun.
If you want to be socially conscious and appeal to an ethical target audience, don’t merge with one of the biggest multi-national corporations in the world.
Groups like this should change the way advertisers think in the way we categorise target audiences; there are more shades of grey than ever and we all need to smarten up.