The flap over the revelation that FOX paid out some $13 million to hush several women who threatened lawsuits against FOX star Bill O’Reilly has moved advertisers on the show to take action.
At last count, some 50 advertisers have pulled their spots from “The O’Reilly Factor,” FOX’s top-rated show. That hurts O’Reilly, but not necessarily FOX. Many simply moved their ad schedules onto other FOX shows.
It does show, however, that social issues and public outrage on those issues do matter to many marketers. Whatever their feelings might be on issues, they don’t want to risk alienating customers and potential customers by having their ads run in a risky environment.
It’s the same thinking that has prompted many advertisers to pull ads from controversial and hate-mongering sites like Breitbart. In the case of the O’Reilly ads, MediaPost reports that many of the brands that pulled their spots have seen substantial increases in digital engagement, being cited in tweets and other social media shares and comments. Most were reported as neutral, about one-third to nearly half as positive, and a tiny portion—1 percent – as negative toward the advertiser.
The big question: Has the move resulted in any added business for the advertisers? It is probably too early to know that, but it looks like the move to pull ads will not hurt the marketers.
It’s interesting to note that, even as there is so much public outrage toward O’Reilly over this, our president stands by him in tweets and public comments. Perhaps based on comments we’ve all seen him make and allegations we’ve heard, he doesn’t see such sexual harassment as a bad thing. The predator-in-chief sets a wonderful example.