UK Advertising Firms Risk Being "Overrun By Cancel Culture" After Joining Left-Wing Campaign

The UK's largest advertising firms have come under fire by conservative MPs for their participation in a far-left campaign linked to activists behind boycotts of center-right media outlets, The Telegraph reports.

uk advertising firms risk being overrun by cancel culture after joining left wing campaign

Five of the UK's largest ad companies have joined the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN), which says it wants to sever the "economic link" between advertising and "harmful content," in what the conservative MPs says puts the ad agencies at risk of being "overrun by cancel culture."

CAN has been linked to activists from the Stop Funding Hate campaign, known for orchestrating boycotts against center-Right media outlets, including the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and GB News.

Formed in 2019, CAN has created seven "manifestos" which it urges members to include in agency briefs and requests for proposals. Said manifestos cover topics such as sustainability, hate speech, misinformation, diversity, ad fraud, informed consent, and children's wellbeing. CAN members include UK ad agencies; Omnicom, Publicis Media UK, The Interpublic Group, Dentsu, and WPP via GroupM, with notable brands such as Virgin Media O2, Nationwide, and Innocent.

One member of CAN, co-founder Jake Dubbins, was an "unpaid advisor" to Stop Funding Hate, while its co-founder previously served as a director of Reliable Media, the corporate entity behind Stop Funding Hate, and sister organization Stop Funding Heat.

Stop Funding Hate has been criticized for pressuring advertisers to disassociate from conservative-leaning media outlets. The group was involved in the drafting of CAN's code on hate speech.

Conservative MPs say businesses have fallen victim to the allure of "conscious advertising" without realizing they were being lured into a politically-driven campaign rooted in the same ideology as the type of cancel culture that has recently affected the banking sector.

"We’ve seen in recent days that the banking sector has been overrun by cancel culture," said Ben Bradley, the MP for Mansfield. "It’s deeply worrying that a similar takeover is happening in advertising and that so many household names are being duped by a so-called ‘conscious advertising network’ that we now find out is being run by a bunch of far-Left, politically motivated activists at Stop Funding Hate."

"This is like the Stonewall campaign. Businesses are being duped into signing up to some fuzzy, cuddly-sounding name only later to realise that the thing they signed up to has morphed into a monster and become highly political," said Lee Anderson, the deputy chair of the Conservative Party.

Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings and Rye, said: “The Left love to silence those they disagree with, whether it’s banks shutting accounts, or brands choosing to boycott TV channels.

“If these businesses and ad agencies want to engage in ‘conscious advertising’, they’d better find another bunch of people to run their marketing strategies and stop outsourcing them to a campaign led by Stop Funding Hate.” -Telegraph

In response, CAN claims to "actively support free speech," adding "we have never called for any ad boycotts based on political views."

Authored by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge July 24th 2023