Boycott success of Harvey Norman after Kyle scandal

Due to the relatively new nature of social media it can be hard to judge exactly how powerful it can be and indeed what it is capable of. Recently however, we can see a controversial case study of how social media can affect the advertising of a brand.

Austereo lost several huge advertising clients including Holden, Blackmores, The Good Guys, Medibank, Vodaphone and Fantastic Furniture after one of it’s more famous announcers Kyle Sandilands made an aggressive attack on air against News Ltd Sydney journalist Alison Stephenson.

Stephenson wrote a negative review of Sandilands’ new show, Kyle and Jacki O’s Night With The Stars which Kyle took as a ‘personal attack’ and as such launched is own personal attack in which he said:

“Some fat slag on news.com.au has already branded it a disaster. You can tell by reading the article that she just hates us and has always hated us. What a fat bitter thing you are. You’re deputy editor of an online thing. You’ve got a nothing job anyway. You’re a piece of shit. This low thing, Alison Stephenson, deputy editor of news.com.au online. You’re supposed to be impartial, you little troll. You’re a bullshit artist, girl. You should be fired from your job. Your hair’s very ’90s. And your blouse. You haven’t got that much titty to be having that low cut a blouse. Watch your mouth or I’ll hunt you down.”

As you can imagine, the backlash over these arguably sexist and downright despicable comments has been bordering on viral. Twitter and Facebook are buzzing with calls for Kyle’s head and advertisers and sponsors are fleeing in droves. Holden withdrew support yesterday afternoon according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Over the past day consumers have been boycotting Harvey Norman’s Facebook page demanding they withdraw advertising from the Kyle and Jackie O Show. Consumers wrote on Harvey Norman’s page that they would not buy from them again until they dropped their support for Austereo. The reason? Consumers did not want to buy from a brand that associated itself with the show after Sandilands’ recent outburst.

Three hours ago they succeeded.

295 people currently LKE the status update and no doubt more will follow. Certainly this case study shows the power of social media for both brands and consumers. In this case, advertising is directly affected by social media. Indeed it is also interesting to point out that consumers really are concerned about the brand image of products they buy.

So what does this mean for the future of marketing? It means we need to listen to our customers through their social media channels and we need to respond. Harvey Norman had to withdraw their sponsorship or risk losing customers to The Good Guys, Fantastic Furniture and other competitors. It was a perfect example of dealing with a crisis. Their response of “We hear you” was absolutely perfect and exactly what their customers needed to hear from the company.

Go Harvey Norman Go!

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