The Spin Starts After Claims of Sexual Harassment

I first read a piece in the NY Times a few weeks ago about women with ties to Fox News having settled for large sums after accusing its highest profile talent of … let’s say … whispering about subjects other than the content of that night’s Talking Points. The NY Times followed up with an update a few days ago.

Fewer people in the heartland read the NY Times, but that hasn’t stopped the story from catching fire.

Advertisers take notice

It’s a full blown social media sh**storm — and the pressure on advertisers to pull support of the anchor’s show (at minimum) and the network (more broadly) has reached a fevered pitch.

Mercedes-Benz was the first to take a public stand … as as of this writing, more than 60 total have joined in the boycott, including car makers like BMW and Lexus, along with other prominent pharma and financial brands.

As a news junkie who regularly checks out Fox News and the O’Reilly show, I honestly don’t recall *ever* seeing a Mercedes ad on his show, ever. Or a BMW commercial. Or one for Lexus. Of all the brands in the boycott list, the only advertiser I recognize from the show is UNTUCKit (the guy who designed the shirt that fellow guys don’t need to tuck in their pants).

His commercials are memorable because I’ve often thought, “Just exactly how did he go about describing the ‘pain’ he was addressing with his invention,” as tech entrepreneurs are coached to do to attract investors.

When the story of the advertiser boycott broke, it called to mind a brand that blankets Fox News: the inventor of “My Pillow.” I thought, now when HE boycotts Fox News, THAT will be a story. And sure enough, he has.

But I digress.

Maybe it a matter of these 60+ brands having forgettable ads or perhaps those reporters who are covering this hot story should press these companies for exactly how much pain will their boycott cause, if they don’t spend (much) money there to begin with.

Let’s make sure it’s a meaningful stand and not just a PR play so a good scandal doesn’t go to waste.

Women and sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious subject.

It’s reported that none of the women who’ve filed suit apparently visited the company HR department with their concerns.

Of course, they wouldn’t.

I had two different conversations with women recently — one who is 20-something, another 50-something who each told stories of being on the receiving end of clearly inappropriate workplace behavior. And each said they went along at the time because they felt they had no choice. It’s also common knowledge that the HR department in most companies is a direct pipeline to top management. Nothing is anonymous — and how can it be?

Social media matters more than ever — where people find out what’s going on and what to believe.

Make sure you understand how to build audience.

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Update from Mercedes-Benz, the first company to boycott O’Reilly’s show, spent about $1.9 million in ads on the show during the last year, according to Overall, The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to CNN.

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