“The way you allocate your media spend, where you put your ads, talks about your company. We moved from brand safety to, I think, societal safety.”
This is the perspective of Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), in response to the growing Facebook ad boycott by big brands.
WFA members represent 90% of global marketing communication spending ($900 billion annually). In a CNBC interview, Stephan describes the Facebook ad boycott as a turning point.
The WFA polled its members and found that 31% had already decided to or were likely to withhold spending, 41% were undecided, and 29% unlikely or not planning to withhold.
So far, 750 advertisers have paused their Facebook ad campaigns as part of #stophateforprofit, including Unilever, Lego, Patagonia, Coca-Cola, and Target. Some brands committed to the month of July, and others indefinitely, until “meaningful action” has been taken to address toxic content. Some brands have focused only on Facebook and Instagram and others across social media.
“I don’t see those big brands coming back if there hasn’t been structural change. That’s my take on the basis of my conversation with them,” Stephan Loerke said.
At an internal Facebook meeting this week, Mark Zuckerberg responded to the boycott by saying, “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
It will be interesting to see how this standoff plays out in the long-term, as brand teams weigh taking a publicized stand versus the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing channel.
I first started drawing marketing cartoons in 2002, so my cartoons have spanned the history of Facebook. What a long, strange trip it’s been. Here are 10 of my favorites over the years.