Is it right for brands to boycott advertisers based on politics?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
July 13, 2021, 11:06 AM UTC

Brits think it is, but also think brands are more focused on their own image than making a statement

GB News’ infancy has seen several high profile brands withdraw their adverts from the fledgling channel, following a campaign on social media organised by activists Stop Funding Hate. Channel chairman Andrew Neil has said the claims made by the activists against GB News are baseless, challenging brands to explain their reasons for joining the boycott.

Despite Neil’s protests, two in five Britons (40%) think brands are right to boycott media outlets based on their political views. However nearly three in ten people (29%) think it is wrong of brands to do so, with the remainder (31%) undecided either way.

Those who voted Conservative in 2019 are more likely to think that brands are wrong if they boycott outlets (44%), compared to 28% who think they are right to do so. Among Labour voters however, nearly six in ten (59%) think brands are justified in pulling their adverts, with only 16% thinking them doing so is wrong.

Despite Britons tending to think that brands are in the right for boycotting advertising with certain outlets, 51% of people think that brands that do so are more interested in trying to maintain a positive public image than actually making a statement. Only 17% of people think that brands are more interested in protesting against a political view opposed to their own values.

Despite Labour voters being twice as likely as Conservatives to say it is right for brands to boycott media outlets, there is little difference between the two voting groups when it comes to motivation. A majority of both groups (54% and 56% respectively) think brands are instead more interested in maintaining a positive public image when boycotting adverts from outlets. Some 19% of Labour voters think brands boycotting outlets are doing so to protest against political views they oppose, as do an identical number of Conservatives (19%).

See full results here