While the country may be divided across political lines; the real-time reaction to brands pulling their advertising from “The O’Reilly Factor” proves the audience sees taking a hard stand against sexual harassment as a bipartisan issue, says Amobee Principal Brand Analyst Jonathan Cohen.
Nearly two dozen TV advertisers have left Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” following a recent story in The New York Times that five women had received payments totaling some $13 million from host Bill O’Reilly or Fox News’ parent 21st Century Fox to not pursue sexual harassment allegations.
Brands that pulled out as “The O’Reilly Factor” advertisers saw an average lift in digital content engagement of 141% on April 4 compared to April 3, according to Amobee, a global marketing technology company.
The brands included in that average are Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW, Lexus, Constant Contact, Ainsworth Pet Foods, Sanofi, Mitsubishi, GlaxoSmithKline, Orkin, Esurance, T. Rowe Price, Credit Karma, Wayfair, Truecar, Coldwell Banker, The Wonderful Company, The Society for Human Resource Management and Bayer.
Mercedes-Benz was seen as the first advertiser to back out of the show and saw their digital content engagement specifically go up 264% on April 4 compared to April 3. On April 4, 75% of the digital content engagement around Mercedes-Benz was related to “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“It’s also worth noting that Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai got an especially large lift in digital awareness around being the first brands to distance themselves from the show,” Cohen says. “Working with brands to pull their ad spend is one of the most effective checks and balances the audience has in speaking truth to power, and brands that take a leadership role in standing up to inappropriate behavior will especially ingratiate themselves to the audience."
There were 7.2K tweets around Mercedes-Benz on April 4 that mentioned “The O’Reilly Factor,” with sentiment around those Tweets being 45% positive, 54% neutral, and 1% negative toward Mercedes-Benz.
Also on April 4, there were 7.8K tweets mentioning both Hyundai and “The O’Reilly Factor” with Twitter sentiment around those tweets being 28% positive, 71% neutral, and 1% negative toward Hyundai.
There were 3.3K tweets around BMW that brought up “The O’Reilly Factor,” with Twitter sentiment being 19% positive, 80% neutral, and 1% negative towards BMW.
Overall in the tweets mentioning both “The O’Reilly Factor” and one of the initial brands backing out of advertising on the show on April 4, (Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW, Constant Contact, Sanofi, Ainsworth Pet Foods, Allstate, UNTUCKit, and GlaxoSmithKline), Twitter sentiment was negative around the brand at most 1% of the time. There was no statistically relevant blowback from the real-time audience against brands taking a stand against sexual harassment.
Between April 3 and 4, there were 6.6K tweets around the hashtag #DropOReilly. The hashtag originated from the @WomensMarch Twitter handle as a tool to pressure brands to stop advertising on “The O’Reilly Factor.” A full 88% of all “The O’Reilly Factor” digital content engagement has been sexual harassment-related between April 1 and 4.