A Convenient Boycott?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

With advertisers boycotting the Alan Jones segment off the back of his comments made recently, I wanted to take a different look at the issue and analyse the numbers behind those advertisers to see what the true impact of such a strategy would be and in turn gain an insight into how much of a “sacrifice” such a move actually is.

I looked at 7 advertisers that have announced they will be boycotting the Alan Jones segment of which all 7 recorded less than 1% of their total media budget within the radio program. One advertiser linked to the boycott has actually spent virtually nothing with 2GB altogether in 2019.

Focusing in on one of the larger advertisers from that list and breaking that spend down, radio as a total, accounts for around 5-15% of their total budget. Within that small allocation 2GB get around 2-5% of that and within that, around 20-25% is allocated to the Breakfast segment, which makes their overall spend share on 2GB Breakfast approximately under 0.5%.

So, you can see from this, that it is actually really easy and inconsequential to make a stand against such a program. Shifting such a small amount of money would have very little impact on the media outcome, but the upside from a PR point of view is massive. Especially given the average person on the street is oblivious to media budgets and network splits, so when they hear about a boycott, they immediately have warm feels towards that brand which may never have occurred with traditional advertising – the advertiser builds awareness without spending a cent on media.

But I do find it interesting (not surprising) that the boycott is so specific. Wouldn’t it be a greater statement to boycott the whole station or even bigger to boycott the whole network? Regardless, I don't think the Network will be losing too much sleep - sure they may lose some short term revenue, but it's Alan Jones, it's not like this is the first time he has said something controversial, he is a repeat offender and yet despite that he is clearly the #1 breakfast radio program in Sydney. The boycotting advertisers will enjoy their moment now, but in the coming days/weeks, advertisers will flock back.

Last year, brands rallied to boycott Sky News over its decision to interview far-right Blair Cottrell. Again, you would think Sky News media spend would be a fairly small part of any media budget. So once again an easy move for advertisers to publicly distance themselves from a property regardless of actual media activity.

Whilst there is plenty of upside to boycotting (publicly), the only issue I see would be that brand setting a precedent. What if instead of a radio host in one market or a small Pay TV station, it was the head of a major national sports body and what if that same client that boycotted Alan Jones/Sky News is a major sponsor of that sport – Do they pull their sponsorship? It’s an interesting scenario and one that could potentially backfire as “values” whether in business or life are non-negotiable and should be expressed all the time – not just when it is convenient.

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that “InsightOut Data Solutions” will also be boycotting the Alan Jones program on the back of appearing virtuous to potential clients, but mainly because of not wanting to align my brand with a program that does not share the same core values as I do. Nailed it!

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