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Politics and Advertising should not mix

There’s an interesting boycott war going on out there right now, all over Glenn Beck.   It all started (I believe) with this video.

Apparently it has had some success as some advertisers are pulling out of the Beck program, because many people are offended by the guy or something. These offended people set up other websites to push the boycott.

This has lead to other groups and websites, like defendglenn.com to get involved and promise to boycott any advertiser that caves in and removes their advertising from the Beck program.

So what is an advertiser to do?   Seems like they can’t win no matter what they do.  No matter what they are going to lose customers by advertising on these programs instead of gaining customers.

The answer is simple. Any sane advertiser will simply stay away from anything remotely controversial in the first place and hence we’ll all end up with boring mushy non-controversial programming.    I think the entire “boycott because I’m offended” movement is ridiculous. There should be a wall between editorial content and advertising, otherwise the latter will influence the former, and then everyone loses.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Waring August 17, 2009, 4:11 am

    The danger lies in when people start hammering away at whatever they don’t like for whatever reason. Conservatives didn’t start this. We let liberals have their little bastions of satire, their love of hating Bush and everything associated with him, even calling him a racist and brushing the entire GOP with that broad brush. We know that it isn’t true and voted with our remote controls instead. It is completely hypocritical of them to now try to get Glenn Beck kicked off the air for calling the president a racist, when we know liberal satire did exactly that for years. We could start doing that though. Life would be so much more pleasant without Keith Olberman in it.

  • Lance August 17, 2009, 8:28 am

    boycott because we are offended – and we offended *way* too easily.

    life would be so much more pleasant without the 24 hour news cycle.

  • Ron August 23, 2009, 12:57 pm

    I have to disagree with you here Weave! I think boycotts are a fine political tool, partly because it’ s my cynical view that the majority of government is run by lobbying groups that represent these companies using donations as their tool to get done what they want. And they are very effective. One way to vote against what they advocate is a boycott.

    I think the people boycotting in this case view what Beck said as truly egregious, whereas you and I probably don’t think it’s bad enough to warrant this action. If it turned out that one of these companies was directly supporting a Taliban terrorist cell operating in the U.S., you and I might join the boycott to register our displeasure. My line of outrage to join a boycott is in a different universe than the people joining this boycott, but I think it’s a legitimate and useful thing to do since I think we are in a large part cut out of the political system.

    End cynical rant.

  • weave August 23, 2009, 1:29 pm

    If one of these companies were being boycotted because they support a terrorist organization, I really doubt any consumers would go buy more from that company in an attempt to counter it! Another example of an effective boycott was against companies doing business with South Africa back when it had apartheid. What was a counter-unboycott going to do? Say “Let’s support that company because we love apartheid?”

    Anyway, I never said I didn’t support ANY boycotts! But a left vs. right boycott just can’t work when one side is buying less and the other side buys more to counter it, or one side says they’ll boycott if you do something, and the other side says they’ll boycott if you don’t do something.

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