Dozens of Retailers to Pull Facebook Ads in Boycott Starting Today
Last week, we reported that Patagonia was the latest company to join other retailers such as REI and The North Face in a boycott of Facebook and Instagram advertising for the month of July. Today, July 1, dozens of companies begin boycotting the social network after a civil rights coalition, which includes the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the NAACP, launched the #StopHateforProfit campaign and called on corporations to put a pause on advertising on Facebook, citing the company's "repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms."
The campaign's primary objective is to stop online hate and racism by asking social media giants like Facebook to adopt new features that curb such behavior. The list of retailers and brands participating in the boycott includes Coca-Cola, Adidas, Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, Clorox, Levi Strauss, Unilever, and many more, according to CNN. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will change its policies to prohibit hate speech in its advertisements, reports CNBC. However, that isn't satisfying many who are calling for more action.
Total Retail's Take: As the old adage says, money talks. As the #StopHateforProfit campaign grows, we've already seen reports of Zuckerberg's $7.2 billion net worth loss from the halt in Facebook and Instagram advertising, and shares of the social media company fell 8.3 percent last Friday. That equates to an elimination of $56 billion from Facebook’s market value, according to Bloomberg, and the month of July has only just begun. The civil rights coalition that called for the boycott has certainly succeeded in getting Facebook's attention, and now will wait not-so-patiently for the social network to answer to its demands to address racism across its platforms.
However, from a retailer's perspective, how can companies give up an entire month's worth of social media advertising, which has proven to drive purchasing? Levis Strauss CMO Jen Sey said in a statement, "We will suspend advertising at least through the end of July. When we re-engage will depend on Facebook’s response."
This signals that some larger brands are looking to hold off on advertising with Facebook indefinitely until they're satisfied with the social network's actions. However, the retailers participating in the #StopHateforProfit campaign haven't stated how they plan to make up for the lost revenue generated from social advertising, as well as they're adjusting their marketing strategies to compensate. A logical guess would be to move ad spend from Facebook and Instagram to other popular social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Snapchat. We'll be keeping close watch through July as Facebook responds to the boycott, and retailers evaluate other ways to drive sales without advertising with the social media company.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.