fake news professional copywriter

Is this the first sign that big brands – including professional beauty brands – are starting to take a stand against some of the darker sides of the Internet and social media?

Unilever’s Chief Marketing officer Keith Weed, speaking at a conference in California, said that the company (whose portfolio includes professional beauty favourites Murad and Dermalogica) is considering boycotting advertising on digital platforms it thinks aren’t doing enough to stop spreading fake news or negative ‘hate’ posts.

Unilever says that the brand doesn’t want to advertise on platforms unless they make a ‘positive contribution to society’.

It’s arguable that most social media and news platforms are capable of making both a positive and negative contribution to society, and that the sort of impact they make depends very much on the users, but Unilever is at least sending out a positive message that maybe other influential brands might consider copying. Hitting the powerful media platforms (I can think of several online news websites that could benefit from cleaning up their act too) where it hurts, in the pocket, is likely to be more powerful than complaining, naming and shaming.

Rape sells burgers on Russian social media

I was watching a TV documentary by Stacey Dooley last night and I was shocked to see that in Russia, big brands have used the image of real life rape victims to promote burgers. Russia’s War on Women was a frightening look at the way Russia, a country that gave women the vote before the UK and sent the first woman into space, actually passed an advert by Burger King, mocking Diana, a 17-year-old rape victim.

Soon the company had deleted the post, but the message was clear: Diana, who spoke out about her rape at the hands of a 21-year-old man on the Russian evening talk show Pust Govoryat (Let Them Talk), had become an internet meme. On the show, she was asked if she had been drinking and she said, ‘a little bit’, making a gesture with her hand. Burger King used her likeness to suggest that people would enjoy their special offer ‘a little bit’ longer. It was taken down after people protested but it’s pretty frightening to think that an ad creative somewhere actually thought it was OK to use a teenage girl’s rape as a marketing message.

responsible advertising the word boutique

Saying no to online negativity

Back to Unilever, and Keith Weed told the conference delegates that Unilever felt it was down the digital media sector to play its part in making fake news, racism, sexism, support for terrorist activity and other negative output unacceptable on social media.

It’s not just an altruistic thing of course; he said that negative content on social media knocks consumer trust in online information. He’s got a point – would you want to buy your skincare from a company that was seen to be supporting dodgy news and views? Would you buy professional beauty products from brands who regularly advertised in racist or sexist publications that you hated? I know it would affect my perception of a brand, and it seems that the big players in healthcare and beauty (and hopefully other sectors) are coming around to the idea that they need to promote themselves more responsibly. The message was;

As one of the largest advertisers in the world, Unilever cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online. Consumers don’t care about good value for advertisers, but they do care when they see their brands placed next to ads funding terror or exploiting children.

So, what are Unilever actually going to be doing?

 “Firstly, Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society and promote anger or hate. Weed said. “Secondly, Unilever is committed to creating responsible content, tackling gender stereotypes in advertising.

It’s a good start.