Luxury Brands Join Facebook #StopHateForProfit Boycott. What is Happening?
The recently launched #StopHateForProfit boycott has now been joined by luxury brands pulling out of Facebook advertising system. However, while giants such as Levi’s, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Lululemon and Adidas were loud about their support, other brands are relocating their advertisement funds quietly.
According to the spokesperson of Ralph Lauren, for example, the brand’s Facebook and Instagram have been temporarily stopped for the sake of ‘reviewing social platform’s values’. Carolina Herrera in North America had followed a similar model. However, neither of the companies made a public statement this is related to the #StopHateForProfit movement.
This statement alone stands as a suggestion there is a list of luxury brands that did the same; in other words, there is an assumption that there is far more than 800+ companies that made their decision public have joined the boycott. What did it mean to the consumer? That there are a plethora of fashion brands eager to allocate their advertising funds elsewhere, mostly to avoid the social media call-out culture for further financial support towards ‘cancelled’ platforms. According to the figures, the revenues for Facebook advertising went as high as 70$ billion last year/
“Earlier this month, we committed to a series of actions to address systemic racism, including a review of the media partners we support,” wrote Ralph Lauren spokesperson Katie Ioanilli. “This review is underway and inclusive of all social and media channels and platforms. As part of this, we will reassess our principles for media buying to ensure we appear in channels and on platforms that share our values. As we conduct our audit, we are pausing paid advertising on Facebook.”
Taking part in the boycott won’t be easy for luxury brands as most will be needing to change their approach since many rely on a direct-to-consumer strategy that directly involves the ‘cancelled’ platforms. For example, it is known that Gucci has been utilizing Facebook tools to track their figures even outside the social media platform. This is possibly the reason why some brands, such as Kering, decided not to participate in the boycott.
“Kering is very committed to fighting racism and discrimination of any form, and we are closely monitoring what policies social media companies implement to combat hateful content and discriminatory narratives on their platforms,” Paul Michon, the spokesman of Kering said. "We have voiced our concerns and demands directly to Facebook’s executive leadership, and we expect the enactment of tangible solutions.”
This shift may raise the popularity of other platforms with paid advertisement options, such as YouTube, Google and Snapchat. However, many brands, such as Ralph Lauren, are doubting whether they will find a place that will offer a return-on-investment as sufficiently as Facebook advertisement did.
Influencer companies took a quick wind of what is happening and wasted no time to act. Some, like RewardStyle, have been feverishly reaching out to luxury brands, nudging them to get off Facebook to avoid toxic commentary of recent and political affairs.
The company’s pitch is based around successes that were witnessed on RewardStyle’s shopping up LikeToKnowIt, highlighting it’s 500$ million sales increase in the past six months, which equals the app’s revenue in 2019. According to them, the conversion rate of the app that sells via RewardStyle
influencers have an outstanding conversion rate of 3.9%, which is much greater than the average of 1.1% coming from social media platforms.
The #StopHateForProfit movement was launched by Sleeping Giants, boycotting companies from advertising Breitbart and The O’Reilly Factor. It is not the first time they have done something like that; in 2016 they have been shaming Breibart advertisers on Twitter. In 2020, the campaign is urging to stop spending money on Facebook advertisement altogether, but not all brands are complying.
For example, last Thursday Twitter users asked shoe brand Toms to stop Facebook ad spending. The brand has issued the following response: “At this time, digital advertising is essential to our business. It allows us to support our employees, and to continue funding the important work of our Giving Partners.” The comments of this statement were quickly filled by other Twitter users stating they aren’t going to support the brand any longer.
The boycott did not go unnoticed by Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg, and the past week his executive team was meeting luxury brand advertisers to discuss the decisions. Such information was given by one of the brand representatives, whereas Facebook chose not to comment.
A plethora of designer fashion brands has been building their marketing strategies around Facebook and Instagram advertisement, whereas the platform has responded by providing tools that would help to track consumer behaviour and measure returns.
In 2019, Facebook for Business published a case study in partnership with Gucci, outlining the success bought to the brand by Facebook business tools
The boycott is estimated to last throughout July.