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Brands withdraw ads from GB News TV channels over content concerns | advertising

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GB News, the television broadcaster launched this week with the support of pro-Brexit tycoons and a mission to produce US-style news content that produces “anti-wake” news, is facing a backlash from advertisers after major consumer brands like Ikea, Nivea and Grolsch have stated that they would pull their advertising off the net.

Led by a number of well-known names, including former BBC and Sky presenters Andrew Neil and Kirsty Gallacher, GB News, which launched on Sunday night, presents itself as an alternative to mainstream media with a focus on opinion-forming and controversy rather than the rather original Reporting.

However, activists are already calling for a boycott of brands advertising on the channel on the grounds that they believe they are hoping to monetize divisive political issues and push the boundaries of UK television news regulations that require politically balanced broadcasts.

The channel is broadcast on television and online across the UK as well as other parts of the UK such as Northern Ireland.

Ikea, Dutch beer brand Grolsch and Swedish cider maker Kopparberg said they suspended the advertising because they feared the channel’s content would violate their goal of inclusivity. Nivea said it would review its position in three months. The brands said they didn’t know their ads were showing on the channel.

The publicly funded Open University also announced that it had suspended advertising on GB News. On Twitter, it said it hadn’t planned or bought any ads for GB News, adding that it was investigating why it happened. Kopparberg said it was also not aware that the station would broadcast its spots.

Octopus Energy founder Greg Jackson posted a letter to clients Tuesday night saying he had asked his agencies to stop advertising on GB News. “We don’t currently run ads on GB News,” he wrote. “We’ll watch it and only advertise it when it turns out to be really balanced.”

He added that the “uproar” over the station’s launch “put GB News in high-demand advertising” and heightened the division.

Some of the station’s funders have supported prominent right-wing causes and campaign groups, while some GB News shows are presented by journalists with open views on issues related to right-wing politics in general. Former Brexit party leader Nigel Farage was one of the first guests on the channel’s opening night.

The channel was started by Neil, who runs Spectator magazine and runs a show called Woke Watch, which aims to highlight examples of “political correctness” gone mad.

Advertising space on GB News is marketed by Sky Media, the advertising distribution arm of the Sky Group, which represents about 130 other channels, more than any other company in the UK. A company spokesman did not want to comment.

Companies that advertise on television tend to hire media buying agencies to buy slots on their behalf based on audience categories such as age and income, rather than targeting specific channels. This means that companies often don’t know in advance exactly where their ads will be shown.

A television industry source said that whole channel advertising boycotts are very rare. Instead, they occurred more in connection with particularly sensitive programs or with editorial content that companies criticize.

The source said the actions of a small number of advertisers are unlikely to materially alter GB News’ finances. This is because media agencies tend to buy large blocks on behalf of several customers, which means that they can simply fill the vacant spaces with advertisements for other customers.

“I don’t think it touches the sides,” the source said.

Sweden’s Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, said it did not knowingly advertise on GB News.

In a statement, Ikea said: “We have taken security precautions to prevent our advertising from appearing on platforms that do not conform to our humanistic values. We are currently investigating how this could have happened to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future and have in the meantime suspended paid display advertising. “

Grolsch, which is owned by Japan’s Asahi, said in a statement that it “prides itself on core values ​​of inclusion and openness for all people, and we want to make it clear that we are not connecting to platforms or outlets that oppose them violated “. Values”.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that Grolsch no longer appears on this channel,” says the message.

Nivea said its policy is to wait a few months after launching a new channel before allowing ads. Nivea announced that it will review the GB News advertising suspension after three months. The skin care company is owned by the German multinational Beiersdorf, which also owns brands such as the plaster manufacturer Elastoplast.

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Kopparberg announced his decision to remove his ads from GB News on Monday in response to a Twitter user listing advertisers on the channel.

The company said, “We want everyone to know that our ad was displayed on this channel without our knowledge or consent. Kopparberg is a drink for everyone and we have immediately blocked our ads on this channel until the content is further checked. “

Comment was requested from GB News.

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