Coca Cola, Levi’s and Dockers join growing list of companies boycotting Facebook ads
Coca Cola, a major force in global advertising, on Friday announced that it will be pausing advertising on all social media platforms globally, for at least 30 days, as platforms face a reckoning over how they deal with racist content. The move comes after groups — the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense — asked “large Facebook advertisers to show they will not support a company that puts profit over safety.”
Coca Cola clarified that it was not joining the official boycott, but said “we are pausing” advertising.
More than 90 marketers including Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club, and The North Face have announced their intention to join the official boycott.
Coca Cola Statement
“There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Coca-Cola CEO and Chairman, James Quincey, said in a statement.
“The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days. We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners.”
He said social media companies — which other major brands have boycotted to force changes in how they deal with hateful material — need to provide “greater accountability and transparency.”
Coca-Cola will use the pause to “reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed,” Quincey said.
The beverage giant has been posting quotes about diversity and ending systemic racism on its Twitter account, including support for NASCAR’s only Black driver, Bubba Wallace.
Levi’s and Dockers are also pausing advertisements
Following Coca-Cola’s announcement, Levi’s and Dockers said they will be pausing all advertising on Facebook and Instagram through “at least” July:
“Facebook must take action to stop misinformation and hate speech on its platforms. It is an unacceptable affront to our values. We and Dockers are joining the #stophateforprofit campaign and pausing all ads on Facebook.”
Moreover, Unilever, home to brands including Lipton tea and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, said it would stop advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the US until the end of 2020 due to the “polarized election period.”
Furthermore, Hershey’s also announced late Friday it will be cutting spending on Facebook and Instagram by a third for the rest of the year and joining the #stophateforprofit boycott.
Facebook’s ‘face-saving’ action
Facebook said Friday it would ban a “wider category of hateful content” in ads as the embattled social media giant moved to respond to widening protests over its handling of inflammatory posts.
During a Livestream on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he intends to discuss “new policies to connect people with authoritative information about voting, a crackdown on voter suppression, and fight hate speech.” He did not directly address the advertiser boycotts.
In a recent memo to advertisers obtained by CNBC, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said “boycotting, in general, is not the way for us to make progress together.”
“I also really hope by now you know that we do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure,” she said in the memo. “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”
Hypocrisy, thy name is Coca Cola?
All that Coca Cola has said and done is impressive but does that absolve the beverage giant of killing tens of thousands of people through various diseases caused by its sugary drinks every year? While we acknowledge that companies are finally taking constructive steps to fight systemic racism which is plaguing our world even in the year 2020, it does create a question mark over Coca Cola’s selective outrage and the inability to sort its own house first.
It is a well-known fact that fizzy drinks increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and can lead to diabetes. They also cause liver damage and make a person go violent. Moreover, they also cause premature birth in pregnant women and can also cause premature aging.
According to a new study, published in Journal Circulation, sodas and other sugary drinks may cause up to 184,000 deaths a year worldwide.
That number is significantly higher than the bandwagon Coca Cola is jumping on, right now.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of hateful speech and related causes, perhaps Coca Cola should focus its energy on not killing tens of thousands of people worldwide due to the ingredients they use in their fizzy drinks.