JetBlue and IKEA: Your Ad Dollars Are Supporting Huffington Post's Sexist SEO Strategy and their Stereotyping and Objectification of Women.
"INSANE SideBoob", "Jessie J's Bikini Leaves Little To The Imagination", "NSFW: Former Beauty Queen Flashes Her Headlights", "Celebrity Skin", "Nicole S Wishes She Were More Slutty"
If these headlines and images represent the content you want to surround your brand with and your view of how a "news" site should represent women, there's no need to read futher.
But headlines, images, and tweets like these are as routine on AOL's Huffington Post, as is their objectifying, sexualizing and stereotyping women. Every dollar you spend with them supports this, puts your brand(s) in the midst of it, and helps drive HuffPo's continued use of women as an SEO strategy, and objectification and sexualization as the means to generating the page-views you're paying them for. Please stop.
If demeaning women and surrounding your brand(s) with headlines like these is what you consider brand-consistent and appropriate you don't need to do anything. If, however, you consider trading on sexism and stereotypes inconsistent with your values, and a bad way to engage your audience and spend your media dollars, please stop. You can be the leaders who help convince Arianna Huffington and AOL to publicly share standards and policies that will end these practices, for there are some costs to page-views that are measured culturally not just financially.
As the father of a 7 year-old girl and a 6 year-old boy, I understand the power of popular culture to help shape opinion and influence attitudes. As a marketer, I also understand the power of your brands and media spend, the importance of your actions, and that the competition for your media dollars is fierce. You have so many options, we ask that you spend where it can do your business good - but women no harm.
Arianna and I have spoken about Huffington Post's headline, image and twitter practices. And despite her previous leadership on behalf of women's issues, on issues related to how her organization represents and portrays women on its front pages she has declined to lead, and instead to promote and profit from using women as SEO and page-bait, and to perpetuate the gender bias that she so often rails against. Sometimes money wins out over morals. With Arianna, it seems this is one of those times.
Each of you speaks to and sells to women. Yet by continuing to spend your media dollars on Huffington Post, and despite all the other places you could spend, you are supporting that which tears women down. We're asking you to please stop advertising with them until they publicly share editorial standards and policies to which they will be accountable, and which will stop their routine objectification, sexualization and stereotyping of women. Their current headline strategy is not good for women or girls, it's not good for your brand and business, and we hope you'll choose where you spend your ad dollars not just on page-views, but on an evaluation of the type of content your dollars are supporting.
Corporate citizenship and social responsibility aren't just about what you say, they're about what you do. Please do take a stand against Huffington Post's objectifying and sexist representation of women, and stop advertising with them until they value women as much as your business does. Thank you.