Eight more clients have asked that their commercial messages stay away from Glen Beck’s Fox News Channel program, bringing the total number of former advertisers to 20. The latest members of the Beckxodus (yeah, we made up a new word) include some big corporate names.
According to reports, the advertiser actions are in response to a campaign by advocacy group ColorOfChange.org. According to reports, it’s launched a petition drive but has yet to ask its membership, some 600K strong, to directly go after advertisers, giving them a chance to take action first. And they are.
The latest to avoid the show are Restasis-maker Allergan, GMAC Financial Service’s Ally Bank, Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Re-Bath, Travelocity and Wal-Mart.
They join a list that already includes ConAgra, GEICO, Lawyers.com, Men’s Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack (or is that just The Shack?), Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, and State Farm Insurance.
“We are heartened to see so many corporate citizens step up in support of our campaign against Glenn Beck,” said ColorOfChange.org’s James Rucker, according to a post at Huffington. “Their action sends a clear a message to Glenn Beck: Broadcasters shouldn’t abuse the privilege they enjoy by spewing dangerous and racially charged hate language over the air. No matter their political affiliation, hate language doesn’t belong in our national dialogue.”
Fox has been saying that it is not losing revenue, as buys have simply been shifted to other FNC programs. So perhaps the reaction of CVS Caremark’s Carolyn Castel are typical. According to the Huffington article, she told ColorOfChange, “While advertising on Fox is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck’s show specifically. We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck’s program is not part of our advertising plan. Our position is simple. We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful, in keeping with our company’s core values and commitment to diversity.”
We’ve seen nothing to suggest that the advertiser withdrawal has spilled over to Beck’s Premiere radio program. Calls to Premiere Radio Networks had not been returned by press time.
RBR/TVBR observation: Beck must be wondering what hit him. There was no immediate client reaction to remarks that weren’t even made on his own show, and then suddenly, a 100K signature petition steamrolls him over two weeks later.
As much as Fox is spinning this as no big deal, just a time shift for the ads, it has to be putting pressure on inventory in other dayparts, and the network is not going to want to have a toxic advertiser-resistant hole anywhere in its lineup. There are only so many spots in a day, and some of them have to be tied to Beck.
Will Beck come forth with a mea culpa? Will FNC drop him? Will the whole thing just blow over?
Beck would not be the first high profile radio star to prove too hot for TV. Heavy hitters Don Imus and Michael Savage both went down, and the heaviest radio hitter of them all, Rush Limbaugh, lost both a politically-themed talk show and his short-lived gig with Monday Night Football.