During the month of July, many large companies have joined an advertising boycott of Facebook in the name of “Stop Hate for Profit”. The organizers of this boycott are protesting Facebook’s refusal to shut down free speech.
By free speech, I mean anything posted by President Trump, his campaign, his supporters, and conservative websites in general. The boycott is meant to be a one-month commitment for the month of July and lots of the usual suspects quickly jumped on board. Disney has now very quietly joined the boycott. The question is why hasn’t Disney made a big splash and announced its boycott as the other companies did? Why so quiet, Disney?
The Stop the Hate for Profit coalition is headed up by the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Sleeping Giants. Large corporations don’t want to risk feeling the wrath of the angry cancel culture mobs so they acquiesce to the demands of social justice warriors. Liberal white guilt is a hella drug. It’s no secret that Disney is a liberal-run corporation. Walt Disney Company has “drastically slashed” its advertising spending on Facebook. Some companies extended their commitment to boycott advertising spending on Facebook beyond the month of July, some through the end of the year, but Disney hasn’t said what its timeframe is yet. That question could have been answered if the company had issued a public statement.
During the pandemic, Disney has concentrated on advertising Disney+, its new streaming service.
The entertainment giant, which is concerned about Facebook’s enforcement of its policies surrounding objectionable content, has paused advertising of its streaming-video service Disney+, the people familiar with the situation said. Disney has promoted the service heavily this year and it makes up a substantial portion of the company’s spending on marketing.
In the first half of this year, Disney spent an estimated $210 million on Facebook ads for Disney+ in the U.S., according to Pathmatics. Disney was the biggest ad spender during that period. Last year, it was the No. 2 Facebook advertiser in the U.S., behind Home Depot Inc.
Disney also paused spending on Facebook-owned Instagram for its sister streaming service Hulu, a person familiar with matter said. Hulu spent $16 million on Instagram from April 15 to June 30, Pathmatics said.
Other divisions of Disney are also re-examining their advertising on Facebook. Ads for ABC and Disney-owned cable networks such as Freeform have all but vanished from the site. While there are fewer shows to market during the summer, a person familiar with the matter said, it is unlikely that ads will return when new episodes need to be promoted, unless the social platform polices itself better.
Maybe Disney understands that at least half of the people using Facebook and Instagram will not be pleased to learn that it is joining in on the boycott and doesn’t appreciate corporate virtue-signaling. Nor do they appreciate boycotts that specifically target President Trump, his supporters, and conservatives in general. The entire population of the country has not been overcome with fever dreams of a socialist or Marxist America, at least not yet. The stockholders in the Walt Disney Company certainly understand how capitalism works.
Facebook, as well as many other online companies, have felt the pinch of smaller advertising dollars being spent during the pandemic. Many brands, though, prefer to not cut their Facebook advertising budgets because Facebook is an especially effective marketing vehicle. Smaller companies thrive from advertising on Facebook. Large companies can afford to discontinue advertising for a month or so but that’s not an option for others, even if the smaller companies wanted to join the boycott.
In the case of Disney, most of their advertising dollars have gone to promoting Disney+ but now their theme parks are beginning to re-open so the family vacation market is coming into play. It’s impossible to think that the timing of slashing the Facebook advertising budget and the decision to not make a public announcement about it is separate from re-opening considerations the company faces. The re-opening of Disney World is off to a bumpy start. The theme park is now banning guests from eating and drinking while walking around – it is limited to a stationary act. Guests must remain in place while partaking in refreshments. It’s all about the face mask mandate and social distancing.
The park’s website updated its face mask policy, as noted by several Disney World fan blogs over the weekend. It still allows guests to remove their face masks while eating or drinking, but asks that they remain stationary and socially distant from other people as they do it.
“Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 2 and up) and cast members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing,” the park’s website now says under the face coverings section.
Guests didn’t want to wear face masks outside in the Florida heat (and who can blame them?) so they were using the excuse of drinking or eating as a way to not wear them. Masks are uncomfortable enough indoors, outdoors in the summer heat and humidity makes them unbearable. In order to make sure that guests wear masks, now they have to stay put somewhere and eat or drink in one place. This will be hard for adults, imagine how difficult parents and grandparents will find it with young kids. No more whipping out a water bottle as they walk to a ride or exhibit in the sun.