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Diageo to stop advertising on social media

Smirnoff owner Diageo will halt all advertising on major social media platforms indefinitely from 1 July as the group “strives to promote inclusion and diversity”.

Diageo owns the world’s biggest vodka brand, Smirnoff

In a statement on the firm’s official Diageo News Twitter account on Saturday (27 June), the group said it “will pause all paid advertising globally on major social media accounts” from Wednesday (1 July). The group didn’t specify which social media platforms would be included or the length of the advertising pause.

The firm added: “We will continue to discuss with media partners how they will deal with unacceptable content.”

Diageo, producer of brands such as Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan rum, said in the statement that the firm “strives to promote inclusion and diversity including through our marketing campaigns”.

In April 2020, the group released an update on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the company. Diageo withdrew its guidance on net sales and operating profit for fiscal 2020 and said it had stopped advertising and promotional (A&P) spend. The firm will “tightly” manage working capital and postpone flexible capital expenditure projects.

The Johnnie Walker owner is among some of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies to pull its advertising on social media in recent weeks, including Coca-Cola and Unilever.

Earlier this month, a group of six organisations called on Facebook advertisers to pause their spending on the network during the month of July. The group of organisations included the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense. The six firms asked companies to “act against hate and disinformation” being spread on Facebook through its campaign, Stop Hate for Profit.

The move to stop advertising comes just weeks after Diageo pledged US$20 million to help black communities and businesses in the US that have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The Diageo Community Fund is part of the group’s continued efforts to support under-represented groups and communities, particularly those in the hospitality sector.

In November 2017, Diageo stopped all of its Youtube advertising after discovering adverts from some of the world’s biggest brands were being shown on videos featuring inappropriate footage of children.

As part of The Spirits Business‘s 2020 Brand Champions report, we looked at the best-performing spirits brands on social media.

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