At least three advertisers associated with Mr. Imus’s program on either radio or television — including the nation’s biggest marketer, Procter & Gamble — suspended their ad support amid a growing controversy over racist remarks he made about the Rutgers women’s basketball team last week.
P&G’s reaction is likely to have the most impact. The marketer was the 10th biggest advertiser on MSNBC’s simulcast of the Imus show last year, according to TNS. Advertisers don’t necessarily buy time on MSNBC’s broadcast of the show. Instead, they buy time on the channel’s daytime schedule and are rotated around different programs. Because of that practice, P&G pulled its ads off the channel’s daytime schedule. It said yesterday that “any venue in which our ads appear that is offensive to our target audience is not acceptable to us.”
What a surprise, P&G liks to sell to African-Americans and Americans who are repulsed by cruel humor and vulgarity. And not just P&G:
Staples, the office-supply chain, said it was pulling its ads from Mr. Imus’s program on MSNBC. “Recent comments made on the program prompted us to revise our decision to advertise on the program,” said Staples spokesman Paul Capelli. “As of now, we are not advertising on the program.” Staples says it can’t speculate as to when it may return.
MSNBC said others have pulled out as well. “A handful of advertisers have asked to move their spots to other programs and we are accommodating them,” said Jeremy Gaines, an MSNBC spokesman.
Another radio advertiser, Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, said it would be “evaluating” its future commitments “going forward.” The Imus program is a popular forum for authors to promote their books and Random House publishers periodically buy ad time to advertise individual titles.
No word yet from General Motors, which is Imus’ biggest advertiser. Care to predict whether the nation’s biggest car-maker wants a piece of the Imus brand going forward?