- Beverages Major Coca-Cola & FMCG Giant Unilever has decided to stop their social media ads due to ongoing anti-racism protests across the world.
Beverages Major Coca-Cola has agreed to suspend its paid ads on all social media worldwide for thirty days in the wake of mass protests against racism around the world. The business declared, releasing a statement, that there is “no position of bigotry on social media” and that it would now reassess its advertisement policies.
The statement released on June 27, confirmed that all of its social media partners expect “greater accountability and transparency.” The statement was undersigned by James Quincey, the company’s president, and CEO. The declaration will take effect from July 1.
The move comes days after Hindustan Unilever announced that to be more inclusive it would drop the name of its long-standing ‘Fair & Lovely’ product and remove the words ‘fair/fairness,’ ‘white/whitening,’ and ‘light/light’ from the packs and communication of its products.
The protests against racial discrimination have been triggered by a white US cop in Minneapolis following the murder of African-American George Floyd. Outraged demonstrators have been marching around the world for over a month now under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter (BLM) marches and taking down symbols of injustice. While BLM has been aggressive in many locations, it is still gaining traction worldwide.
This prompted businesses to scrutinize their channels and practices related to hate speech, color-based discrimination, etc. This has also placed Facebook under scrutiny for failing to respond against hate speech. Last Friday Unilever had stopped ads on Facebook and Twitter, at least until the end of the year. Many brands including Verizon, The North Face, Toyota, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and Ben and Jerry’s have paused on Facebook for their commercials.
Facebook and Twitter shares were down more than 7 percent in mid-day trading Friday after Unilever announced for the rest of the year it would pull its ads from social media firms.
“Given our Responsibility Framework and the U.S. polarized atmosphere, we’ve decided that we won’t run brand advertising on social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the U.S. starting now at least through the end of the year,” the company said in a statement. “Continuing to advertise on these platforms would not add value to people and society at this time. We will monitor ongoingly and review our current position if necessary.”
The decision by the massive household goods firm was driven by concerns on the platforms about hate speech and divisive content, it said. Not long after the announcement by Unilever, Procter & Gamble — some of the world’s biggest advertisers — reportedly said it would withdraw ads from sites hosting material that was “hateful” or “discriminatory.”