Get Up goes after Woolworths for advertising with News Corp

Activist group Get Up is targeting one of Australia’s biggest brands, Woolworths, for spending money advertising with News Corp and “funding climate denial”.

Get Up said the Murdoch press is more reliant on advertising than ever before, noting this makes the media giant vulnerable with advertisers holding the power.

“Companies like Woolworths are terrified of damage to their brand – of anything that could scare off customers (like climate denial?) So imagine what our advertising blitz could do,” Get Up said. “If advertisers start to distance themselves, the Murdoch Press will be forced to change its editorial stance – or face financial penalty once and for all. It all starts with Woolworths, a company known to respond to public pressure.”

News Corp slammed the campaign, saying it is based on an “absolute untruth” and that its environmental credentials are “second-to-none”.

“News Corp is not a climate denier. We’ve been on the public record countless times recognising that the climate is changing. Our environmental credentials as a media company are second-to-none. The public should be aware that Get Up is yet again spreading fundamental untruths,” a News Corp spokesperson told Mumbrella.

Get Up’s campaign director Alix Foster Vander Elst, however, said Woolworths had a choice to make.

“Woolworths is one of News Corp’s big name advertisers, every time a piece of dangerous climate denial is printed it’s being funded by their ad dollars.

“Climate denial is dangerous, it’s bad for our future and it’s time to make it bad for business.

“The Murdoch press might think they can ignore the majority of Australians who want serious action on climate change but with a declining readership, advertisers are critical to their bottom line.

“Our message to Woolworths is simple: put pressure on the Murdoch press to clean up their climate denial or pull your advertising.”

Woolworths has since responding, noting it needs to place its ads where its potential customers’ eyeballs are.

“Like many brands, we book media space in publications we know our customers like to read. It’s an important way to communicate with customers and will continue to be a part of our marketing approach,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Mumbrella.

“As a business, we recognise the effects of climate change on our customers, communities and business, and have been taking action to cut emissions accordingly. We’ve reduced emissions by 18% on 2015 levels by investing in renewable generation and energy efficiency in our stores. Our long-term ambition is to reduce our emissions by 60% on 2015 levels by 2030. This is not only the right thing to do, but also good business that will help us become more efficient and resilient.”

The billboards will be driven around Sydney today.

News Corp’s stance on climate change, and its contribution to the policy debate, has been under increasing scrutiny this year.

In January, various media outlets clashed over how the Australian bushfire crisis was covered, with other organisations and journalists hitting out at News Corp for a perceived climate change denying agenda.

An email was also leaked from a senior News Corp employee which was imploring executive chairman Michael Miller to act more responsibly and truthfully when covering climate change.

“I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever now to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it,” she said in the email.

Last week, speaking ahead of the launch of the Premium Content Alliance – which pitches the likes of News Corp, Foxtel, Foxtel Media, Ten, Seven West Media and Nine as brand safe, efficient and effective marketing platforms – News Corp’s Miller said the group had long been targeted by activists, but claimed such actions were having ‘no impact’ on the business.

And late last year, Rupert Murdoch himself dismissed claims News Corp is a climate change denier.


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