GMAC Financial Services has become the latest company to stop advertising on Glenn Beck’s Fox News Channel program after he called President Obama a racist. GMAC Financial joins a list that includes Geico, ConAgra, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, RadioShack, Men’s Wearhouse, State Farm, Sargento, LexisNexis-owned Lawyers.com, Procter & Gamble, and Progressive Insuranceas companies that have dropped Beck.
According to Media Matters, GMAC Financial Services spokesperson Sue Mallino said that the company would continue to advertise on FNC, but they have final approval over which programs they advertise on. She said that it was, “not appropriate” to advertise on Beck’s show and confirmed that the company, “has ceased advertising on the Glenn Beck program.”
The campaign to pressure Beck’s advertisers was begun by ColorofChange.org has been a resounding success. I was skeptical of how they would fare because other groups have tried to pressure sponsors of FNC personalities like Bill O’Reilly for years, but have had limited success. I think the difference between those campaigns in this one is that Beck so overtly tried to play racial politics.
Absolutely nothing terrifies corporate America more than racial politics. People of all races are also consumers, and being seen as a sponsor of inflammatory rhetoric like Glenn Beck’s could cost companies customers. Despite the fact that Beck draws between one and two million viewers night, his demographic is relatively narrow. The companies that have dropped Beck have concluded that advertising on his show is worth alienating other demographics.
If this campaign continues to grow and Beck loses 20 major corporate advertisers, Fox News is going to have a real problem. If big corporations aren’t willing to pay big dollars to advertise, despite huge ratings, the ad revenue for Beck’s time slot will fall. I still think that the Fox News brass will rein Beck in before the problem gets that bad. The Color of Change campaign demonstrates that real grass roots efforts can be successful, if they are properly targeted.
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