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June 29, 2020

Unilever and Hershey pull US social media advertising over hate speech

Food heavyweights Unilever and Hershey have taken decisions on whether to support a campaign calling for a boycott of social media advertising over the promotion of hate speech.

By Leonie Barrie

Food heavyweights Unilever and Hershey have joined other major corporations in stopping or reducing advertising on social media platforms in the US, including Facebook, in an ongoing row over hate speech.

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Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
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by GlobalData
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The companies are calling on social media giants to do more to ensure such language is not given a platform on their sites.

They are backing the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which is urging businesses to boycott advertising on Facebook during the month of July.

However, Anglo-Dutch consumer goods business Unilever, which owns brands such as Marmite and Hellmann’s, has gone further than that, both in terms of the length of the boycott and the platforms involved.

It said that in line with its internal guidelines and what it calls the “polarised atmosphere in the US,” it has decided that “starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media news-feed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the US.

The company-wide decision follows last week’s announcement from its US ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s that it would be supporting the boycott.

Unilever said: “Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. 

“We will maintain our total planned media investment in the US by shifting to other media.”

Unilever said the “complexities of the current cultural landscape” have placed a renewed responsibility on brands to learn, respond and act to drive a trusted and safe digital ecosystem.

It said “there is much more to be done” in the areas of divisiveness and hate speech during this “polarised election period in the US”.

US confectionery giant Hershey, meanwhile, said that earlier this month it communicated to Facebook that it was unhappy with its stance on hate speech.

“Despite repeated assertions by Facebook to take action, we have not seen meaningful change,” it said.

It added: “We have now cut our spending on Facebook and their platforms, including Instagram, by a third for the remainder of the year.”

Media outlets in the US are suggesting global food and beverages behemoth PepsiCo has also joined the advertising boycott of Facebook but the company has not, at the time of writing, issued a statement to this effect.

Among the organisations calling for a boycott of social media platforms to protest the regulation of offensive or racially-insensitive content are the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the civil rights organisation Color of Change.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

Unilever- A Deep-dive into Product Launches and Advertising Strategy

Unilever product advertising is mainly through mainstream TV channels. Out of the products advertised so far at least 50% (over 850) of ads have been run on TV, while print media comes second with 496 ads. Unilever also utilizes social media platforms for advertisement. Unilever products are categorized by innovation ratings and tags in our product launch database. The North American region consists of almost 74 products with innovations related to the formulation of the product. Europe and other regions also have more products categorized under formulation-related innovation, followed by the packaging and positioning of the products. Most Unilever products are tagged with “High Vitamins”, “Recyclable”, and “Natural” tags to understand what the product differentiator is from other products available in the market. The majority of products belong to the personal care industry with a total of 5,788 products to date. This report, through the Unilever Example, illustrates how GlobalData Explorer enables you to:  
  • Track product launches by FMCG companies to get an understanding of the product-level strategies including geographic concentrations, innovation types, product claim, category focus and more
  • Monitoring the advertising strategies of various brands and gain insights into channel focus, regional focus, and more
  • Perform company-level analysis to understand business model, size, and geographic focus
Don’t miss out on key market insights that can help optimize your next investment – read the report now.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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