Opinion

Guest post: An open letter to the ad industry – don’t sponsor Kyle & Jackie O

In this guest posting, Adam Ferrier writes an open letter to the advertising and media industry

The harmful acts of ‘Kyle and Jackie O’ on 2DayFM this week have spurred me to write this open letter. Adam FerrierThe thoughts expressed herein come from me personally, I am not speaking on behalf of Naked (where I work). Further, I hope this doesn’t come across as holier than thou, after all we are all in advertising. None of us are saving lives, and in our industry many of us have had our own moral compass challenged from time to time. However, the acts of Kyle and Jackie O this week were blatantly deplorable and I feel must be strongly challenged.

These people have taken a damaged 14 year old girl and her struggling mother, and professionally exploited them for commercial gain. They have played Russian roulette with these damaged people’s lives and lost. Forget how terribly the incident was handled, and Kyle’s subsequent inept comments – just the act of strapping a 14 year old girl to a polygraph and forcing her to reveal details of her nonconsensual sexual activities, and drug taking behaviour live on radio is sick. I’m guessing there would have been at least a dozen highly paid adults involved in making this happen.

It would appear that our society is experiencing death (or moral decay) by 1000 cuts – and no one is putting a stop to it for fear, I assume, that the dollars will stop flowing. Now is the time to turn this thinking around. I would like to start with Kyle and Jackie O, and firmly ask them to leave the public arena and resign.

By resigning they have the opportunity to acknowledge that their behaviour has been harmful, and their ‘stunts’ have for years denigrated specific individuals and our society. If they are not prepared to resign then perhaps 2DayFM should terminate their employment. This will only happen if advertising revenue dries up, and the dollars stop flowing to The Kyle and Jackie O Show.

Those in the advertising industry, who buy media space, sponsor radio shows, or advertise on radio will in the future think twice about working with Kyle and Jackie O. They may achieve good ‘reach’, but at what cost. What brands want to:

• support two nasty bogans?

• be associated with the exploitation of damaged people?

• be associated with the sexualisation of children?

• be associated with rape, bigotry, and misogynistic behaviour?

• contribute to a show that’s contributing to the demise of our culture?

We acknowledge everyone has a right to freedom of speech, but we also acknowledge that we get the society we deserve. We can act collectively, with intelligence and compassion, and shape a nicer society to live in.

  • Adam Ferrier is managing partner at Naked Communications. He is also a qualified psychologist
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