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Friday, Aug. 3, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Facebook Advertisers Get Nervous

By Robert Gorell
August 3rd, 2007

Obviously from MySpaceBBC News reports that Virgin, Vodafone and others are pulling their ads from Facebook in an effort to protect their brands. The ads appeared on a page related to the far-right British National Party, which apparently upset the advertisers, causing them to pull the ads. Now the question seems to be, how does Facebook protect its brand when non-targeted ads bought on a CPM (define) basis are causing unintended controversy?

As points out, Vodafone and others could have protected their brands for “a measly $50,000″ by purchasing a targeted news feed promotion.

Do advertisers expect more of Facebook than they do of MySpace, where non-targeted ads reign supreme? Is Facebook a victim of its (perceived) high standards for relevance?

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Comments (5)

  1. Very good points you raise here. It appears that perhaps they do hold them to a higher standard. But then again, that’s not too difficult; we are talking MySpace. :P

    Shine on,

  2. Interesting piece, but it does say RELATED and not the BNP itself.

    Still, I side with Facebook with their response. It’s the same for advertising Bah Mitzvahs on an Islamic Religious site or how about Durex on a Pro-life or catholic website? I’m pretty sure this must have happened… but is it as controversial.

    In the end, brands have the responsibility to investigate brand management. Targetted marketing works. Normally for this, you have to pay more.

    They all love the viral nature of the internet but hate it when it doesn’t give them their rewards.

  3. Anton,

    I agree completely with your point about it being the brand’s responsibility, which they’re clearly exercising in this case by pulling the ads. I also think you have a good point about advertisers being fickle in these cases — but I think they have to be.

    I don’t see how a site “related” to the BNP is any different than the real thing. They’re white supremacists and, last I recall, the British nation (the real one, not this political party) lost the better part of a generation in a fight against such bigotry and nationalist — it’s actually fascism in this case — ideology.

    Virgin has a highly inclusive multi-cultural brand image, which they surely don’t wish to tarnish with poorly-targeted ad buys. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson. In my opinion, this shouldn’t tell them to avoid advertising on Facebook. On the contrary; next time they just shouldn’t be cheap about it! Sir Richard’s got the money. :)

  4. If some Facebook page were found to be linking to kiddie porn sites, how quickly do you think facebook would wish to get rid of it ?

    It is entirely appropriate these advertisers should withdraw their advertsing.

    Facebook should remove these pages ASAP, otherwise they will suffer the judgement of the ‘court of public opinion’.

  5. Fantastic blog, many amusing details. I think 6 of days ago, I have viewed a similar post.

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