Buyers to clients: Dump Rush Limbaugh
Most tell Media Life they'd advise against running spots
March 6, 2012
In fact, some buyers have already canceled their clients’ ads.
“They told me to pull it,” one reader told Media Life about his client’s ad buy. “I canceled 10 months.”
Readers think that’s the right approach, according to a Media Life poll on the Limbaugh controversy, posted yesterday, which asked respondents to weigh in on a number of Rush-related topics, including whether advertisers should pull their sponsorships.
The vast majority of readers said they would tell their clients to drop Limbaugh’s show, days after he referred to a law student as a slut and a prostitute after she testified about contraception in front of Congress. So far more than 30 advertisers have yanked their commercials.
The poll got a huge number of responses, and the subject matter clearly had readers’ dander up based on the passionate replies.
Most readers agreed that advertising on Limbaugh right now would be foolish.
“I would advise them to sever all ties immediately,” wrote one reader.
“American consumers traditionally support companies and organizations that are in line with their values and I don’t think many people would want to associate with a company that supports someone who attacks the character of a private citizen by calling her a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute.'”
“Why take a chance with someone who could create another conflict as big or bigger any time he opens his mouth,” wondered another.
“Pull support. It’s not what he said, it’s the tone of what he said, he was factually wrong in the items he testified were true,” noted another. “He has a strong enough popular appeal that people believe the lies — the power of advertising is that people believe in the product or service being advertised; linking a product to a liar is just not smart business.”
Clearly readers see this controversy as a crossroads for Limbaugh.
Asked whether this is “the event that will finally spell at least the beginning of the end of Rush Limbaugh’s long career as provocateur for America’s right,” a majority of readers, 51.5 percent, answered yes.
Another 26 percent said they were unsure, choosing this answer: “If anyone else had made these comments they’d be gone, but Limbaugh gets more leeway because he’s so popular.”
Just 22.5 percent answered no, predicting that new advertisers would step in when outraged ones dropped out.
Readers also think this mess could draw out for some time to come.
Asked whether the controversy will blow over, 53 percent picked this answer: “Maybe yes, maybe no. Limbaugh clearly doesn’t fully understand his gaffe, and he’ll probably keep talking about it, and likely say other provocative things. If he does that, it could very well sink him.”
Another 23 percent said no, the controversy will not blow over and this will finish Limbaugh off.
Just 6 percent said the controversy will blow over within a few days, while 18 percent predicted it will cool in a couple weeks.
Readers found Limbaugh’s comments abhorrent. Asked to rate the comments on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not at all offensive, 10 being extremely offensive, 80 percent chose 10.
Finally, Media Life brought up a similar controversy that erupted over Don Imus’ racially insensitive remarks that led to his vilification and firing. Five years later, Imus is back on TV and radio.
We asked, in light of that, is the public’s memory really so short, or do most people just not care about such controversies?
The most readers, 46.7 percent, said the public memory is short.
Just over 13 percent said people don’t care about the controversies.
And 39.7 percent chose “other,” writing in their own responses.
“Imus immediately apologized for a single ignorant comment,” wrote one reader. “Not only was Rush’s offense a 3 day tirade, but Rush has made misogyny his daily mission.”
Noted another, “Unfortunately, there are people that agree with these hurtful, ignorant statements.”
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