Written in Ink

Adland: "Gawker is toxic to brands who partner with them"

Adland has a rundown of the brouhaha with Gawker's advertisers. Here is the takeaway:

The irony that he headlines Gamergate as fascism, a totalitarian ideology that denies independent thought, while skewering brands for attempting to distance themselves from the publication that serves the party line is not lost on anyone. Who in their right mind would want to risk a brands billion dollar reputation on a publishing house that cheered the Glenn Beck ad boycott, but then talks shit about any brand wants to distance themselves from them? Gawker made their name on the Gawker Stalker, Gawker hoped to bankrupt Chick Fil A over charitable donations. Gawker celebrated when Firefox Chief Brendan Eich was ousted because he too had made donation Gawker did not approve of. Boycotts like this are the results of politicising everything, and now it's finally come full circle. There's a reason newspapers had a strict line drawn between editorial and advertising departments, one that now not only has been blurred by native advertising but also the birth of "ad studios" and "featured partner" at the likes of clickbait publications such as Gawker and Buzzfeed, who have spent more energy courting ad agencies than they did chasing down twitter-conversations to report on. Don't say we didn't try to warn you.

So while I might have thought "back away slowly" was a good idea a couple of months ago, I now believe your brand has to strike first. Stay on top of this story and see where you are listed as an advertising partner. If your brand is not partnering with said site, have them remove your logo immediately, I'm sure legal can help you write up a decent letter on that. Seek out the next targets before you get dragged into this. Is your brand representing family values & healthy children? Then maybe a site discussing a progressive stance on pedophiles and describing the abuse of a seven year old girl as a "sexual relationship" isn't a place where your brand wants to be seen?


Honestly, I don't have that much sympathy for Gawker in this situation. Was the tweet that started this whole mess a joke? Yes. Was it a stupid joke for a public figure to make during National Bullying Awareness Month? Yes. However, instead of being the adult in the room, Max Read doubled down and made a joke about "neuroatypical" people. He then stirred the hornets' nest again with his screed about "dishonest fascists."

As Adland points out, Gawker has been in favor of boycotts or letter-writing campaigns in the past when they are for a cause which Gawker supports. Yet, Read now cries foul when the same tactics are used against Gawker.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading Gawker. But let's face it, their collective "shit don't stink," "I'm always right" attitude is pretty off-putting at times and it has only gotten worse under Read's tenure as editor-in-chief. Maybe this will cause them to dial it down a notch or two. Probably not.

[I should probably add, I'm not a "Gamergater." I didn't even really know what the whole hoopla was about until the time all of this started blowing up with Gawker.]

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