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Stephen Eastwood
November 2016.
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Is it right to put political pressure on the media by targeting their advertisers?
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THE AUTHOR OF THE QUESTION HAS APPROVED THIS ANSWER

Well, you could turn that question around and think 'why would it be wrong to do so'? No, I don’t think it’s wrong at all. In terms of leveraging political pressure by targeting advertisers, why would it be wrong?

You could also look at whether an advertiser pulling their funding would really hurt the publication in question. Individually, in something like the Daily Mail, the answer is no, not at all. The Mail itself resonates with such a distinct demographic and such a well-understood audience there will always be other advertisers lining up to take the best slots.

"One or two individual advertisers taking an ethical stance won’t hurt the publisher."

In relation to Lego pulling their ads, and the 'Stop Funding Hate' campaign, John Lewis were reported as saying that they ‘never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper’.

Of course, if all advertisers stopped, or there was a vast decrease in advertisers, then the Mail would either have to decrease their advertising fees or alter their editorial tone. This would hurt them, but, as it stands, one or two individual advertisers taking an ethical stance won’t hurt the publisher, and they will ride it out. It boils down to offline and online readership: if there are eyeballs and attention, then there will be advertisers.

Andrew McStay is the author of Digital Advertising, now in its second edition.