Advertiser Research – Part Two

Back in July 2017, Stop Funding Hate commissioned a two week pilot research project to gain a comprehensive view of all the advertisers in the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun for that period. This gave the campaign an important evidence base, and many people have been asking for more to be released. So, we decided to do a six week project in the run up to Christmas.

Making a list and checking it twice…

Christmas is a time when companies like to advertise their values as well as their products. Christmas adverts have now become a cultural phenomenon, with John Lewis leading the way in budget and hype. But what these feel-good adverts don’t tell you is how much companies are advertising in papers that use fear and division to make profit.

“History has shown us time and again the dangers of demonizing foreigners and minorities… it is extraordinary and deeply shameful to see these types of tactics being used… simply because racism and xenophobia are so easy to arouse in order to win votes or sell newspapers” – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2015.

Top advertisers overall

The estimated top 10 advertisers across the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun were:

  • Sky
  • BT
  • Wilko
  • The Health Lottery
  • Morrisons
  • DFS
  • Ladbrokes
  • Tesco
  • Lidl
  • Asda

Given that Sky is owned by News Corp, which also owns the Sun, and that the Health Lottery is owned by the Express, it’s also useful to look at the estimated top five without these included:

  • BT
  • Wilko
  • Morrisons
  • DFS
  • Ladbrokes

The Daily Mail

The estimated top 10 advertisers in the Daily Mail were:

  • LidlHeadlines from the Daily Mail
  • Sky
  • DFS
  • Wilko
  • BT
  • Fidelity International
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Tesco
  • Boots
  • SCS

The Daily Express

The estimated top 10 advertisers in the Daily Express were:

  • The Health Lottery (owned by the Express)
  • Liverpool VictoriaDaily Express headlines
  • DFS
  • BT
  • Very
  • Wilko
  • Admiral
  • Morrisons
  • Gtech
  • Plusnet

The Sun

The estimated top 10 advertisers in the Sun were:

  • Sky (owned by News Corp)
  • BT
  • Wilko
  • Morrisons
  • Ladbrokes
  • Virgin Media
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • McDonald’s
  • Wickes

Repeat advertisers

From our pilot research, we can see that some of the estimated top advertisers are the same. Sky and the Health Lottery unsurprisingly appeared in both sets of top 10 estimates. But so did Lidl, Tesco, BT and Morrisons.

ROL, Imagine Cruising and Lionsgate were not in the top 10 this time. In fact, they did not make the top 30.

The effects of hate in the media

While these companies spread goodwill at Christmas, with adverts featuring homeless people being given dinner and loveable bears delivering presents with Father Christmas, the effects of advertising in the Mail, Sun and Express are real.

A study by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has found that the Daily Mail and the Sun showed a hostility towards migrants that was “unique” among the newspapers they sampled across five European countries. And research by the former Times journalist Liz Gerard has found that anti-migrant stories in the UK press have been steadily increasing year-on-year. In 2016, the Daily Mail and Daily Express ran 1,768 pages with stories about migrants – almost all were negative.

Companies such as Tesco, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer are funding this trend. As the papers struggle to attract readers, and therefore advertising revenue, they’re using more and more extreme content to get sales and clicks. And this makes us complicit too. Every time we buy a sandwich at M&S, or pay an Internet bill to Plusnet, some of our money is being used to fund hate as well.

With hate in the media rising, it’s no coincidence that hate crime is rising too. In 2016, Leicester University’s Centre for Hate Studies warned that a wider surge in hate crime against migrants had been “fuelled and legitimised… by the media”. While Cambridge University highlighted that: “Mainstream media reporting about Muslim communities is contributing to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards Muslims in Britain”.

Newspapers are free to print what they like within the law. And we are free to ask the companies we shop with to not advertise with them. We’re hoping to conduct more research in 2018, and to improve our website, giving Stop Funding Hate supporters the evidence, information and campaigning tools that we will all need to take the campaign to a new level. If you’d like to help make that happen, please pledge to our Crowdfunder.

A note on research methods

It’s impossible to know the exact amount that each company spends on advertising in the Mail, Sun and Express as many do deals and get discounts. This means that all ‘ratings’ are estimates. But, using publicly available rate cards, we can see the relative price of each kind of advert. This means that as well as tracking which companies advertise the most often, we can see whether they’re buying the most expensive kinds of ads, e.g. full page colour spreads. The more research we do, the better we’ll get at tracking and categorising the information.

If you have any questions about the research, please get in touch on info@stopfundinghate.org.uk.