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Led By Donkeys billboards pressure brands still funding GB News after Farage hire


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

August 2, 2021 | 4 min read

Even before its launch, GB News endured boycotts from activists concerned about its supposed war on ‘the woke mob’. New host, former Ukip boss Nigel Farage, has now invoked the ire of boycotters with a tirade against the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). One group, Led By Donkeys, which is known for its creative billboards, has done just that to pressure the few brands still funding such sentiment.

Led By Donkeys

Sainsbury’s, Kellogg’s, Compare the Market, the National Lottery, Now and Halfords still buy ads on GB News

Last week Farage branded the RNLI as a migrants’ “taxi service” on the TV channel. His segment was complaining that the service was saving migrants crossing the English Channel. This attack on the British institution inspired a surge in donations to the service and even generated dissenting opinion from resting channel boss Andrew Neil.

To mark this newsworthy moment, today Led By Donkeys – a group that won Best Social Media campaign at The Drum Social Purpose Awards in 2019 – did what it does best and used a dual billboard placement to highlight Farage’s comments and the brands still buying the ads on the channel and therefore funding such tirades.

As per research from Stop Funding Hate, Sainsbury’s, Kellogg’s, Compare the Market, the National Lottery, Now and Halfords have persisted. Sainsbury’s is the last UK supermarket observed on the channel, after hold-out Co-op appeared shift its spend elsewhere.

The channel’s large advertiser base has dwindled. This is largely because Sky Media apparently placed its many partners there without informing them – victims of automated, audience-based buying in the TV age. Many marketers woke on the Monday morning of GB News’s launch to tweets from boycotters asking them why they supported the channel, despite no such decision being made.

Although GB News’s audience has shrunk to the extent the media buy might not supply enough eyeballs to be worth any impending social media pressure, YouGov research does emphasize there is a market for its output.

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