News of the World brand backlash: LIVE

Three days in to the latest phone hacking furore surrounding the News of the World, brands are still mulling over their stances into advertising with the Sunday tabloid, with some even changing their initial statements. Follow our liveblog for all the latest updates.

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News of the World journalists and associates have now been accused of hacking the mobile telephones of murder teenagers Milly Dowler, families of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, relatives of the victims of the London bombings on 7 July 2007 and members of the armed forces that died on duty.

Marketing Week has collated the latest brand responses to the hacking allegations and will update this page as more are announced.

LATEST: 16.12

Virgin will appear News of the World this weekend - but no more ads will appear after this. Help for Heroes releases statement (below).

News International


“We are in dialogue with advertisers about the steps we have been taking and those conversations will continue.”

BRANDS BOYCOTTING

Reckitt Benckiser

“RB UK was very concerned by the recent allegations. While we currently have no advertising running with News International titles, we have made the decision to suspend advertising with NOW planned for later in the month, and will be seeking assurances that both current day policy is fundamentally different from that highlighted in the allegations, and measures are in place to make it impossible for such events to occur again.”

o2

O2

“We share the concerns of customers and employees about these quite shocking claims. While the situation unfolds, we will not be purchasing advertising in the News of the World. We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Post Office

“From Wednesday 6 July, the Post Office has suspended all print and online advertising with the News of the World following the recent allegations. We await the outcome of the police investigation and will review our position once that has concluded.”

Sainsbury’s

“Due to the rising concerns of our customers we’re suspending any advertising in the News of the World until the outcome of the investigation.”

The Royal British Legion

“The Royal British Legion has dropped News of the World as its campaigning partner, as the nation’s leading Armed Forces charity representing bereaved military families expressed revulsion at the latest phone hacking revelations.

“The decision was taken following the disclosure that the bereaved relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may have had their phones hacked by a private investigator working for News of the World. The Legion has suspended all relations with the newspaper pending a resolution of the allegations.

“We can’t with any conscience campaign alongside News of the World on behalf of Armed Forces families while it stands accused of preying on these same families in the lowest depths of their misery. The hacking allegations have shocked us to the core.”

Mitsubishi

“Following the  ongoing investigations regarding the hacking of Milly Dowler’s mobile  phone, we have with immediate effect suspended all media and  advertising spend with the News of the World. This includes all online and  print channels. As the News of the World is run as a separate company  from News Corporation’s other titles, this decision only applies to the  News of the World.

“Mitsubishi  Motors in the UK considers this type of activity - especially in  such a distressing case - to be unbelievable, unspeakable and  despicable. This is where we draw the line. It has therefore been necessary for us to pull all of our media advertising with the News of the World with immediate effect  and have pledged to donate the saved funds to the  charity, Childline.”

Wickes

“Wickes will not be advertising in the News of the World whilst the investigation into their conduct is in progress. Any decisions around advertising with News of the World will be made following the outcome of the investigation .”

Npower

Npower

“We can confirm that we are suspending current advertising with the News of the World. We will continue to review our options going forward.”

Butlins

“We review all our sources of advertising regularly and we will not be advertising in NoW this weekend.”

Virgin Holidays

“We reviewed our plans yesterday in the light of emerging developments and decided to withdraw the very limited number of classified adverts we had booked for several of the Virgin Holidays brands for this Sunday.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation on a week by week basis and as this an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further.”

Vauxhall

“Vauxhall has suspended advertising in the News of the World. It will reconsider its position pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations of phone hacking. “

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The Co-operative Group

“The Co-operative Group has taken the decision to suspend temporarily any further advertising and promotional activity with the News of the World until the outcome of the investigation is known.

“The Group is a consumer-owned business which adheres to strong ethical standards. These allegations have been met with revulsion by the vast majority of members who have contacted us.

“We would urge everyone involved to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion for the sake of all those who are affected by these events.”

Halifax

“In recognising and responding to consumer reaction, Halifax has cancelled an advertisement in this Sunday’s News of the World.

“This was a tactical decision in the short term whilst we carefully consider our longer term position and its implications.”

Renault

“Renault acknowledges the concerns raised regarding the allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World. As a result of the seriousness of the continued allegations, we can confirm that Renault has no media advertising currently planned with the News of the World, nor will it commit to any future activity, until the outcome of the formal investigations is complete.”

Ford

“Ford is a company which cares about the standards of behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally.

“We are awaiting an outcome from the News of the World investigation and expect a speedy and decisive response. Pending this response we will be using alternative media within and outside News International Group instead of placing Ford advertising in the News of the World.”

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Mumsnet

“We at Mumsnet are a community website and try to reflect our communtiy needs. There were lots of discussions on the boards yesterday about the News of the World allegations and brands advertising with the company.

“There were also discussions about an integrated digital campaign we were running on behalf of Sky and lots of requests to withdraw our ads.

“We always listen to our community and because of the nature of the allegations and the emotion and hurt they have caused families, we thought it appropriate to follow that through.

“The association between [News Corp] and BSkyB is an assocation people feel strongly about and although we know the fact that [NewsCorp does not fully own BSkyB] at the moment, we know this is likely to be the case sooner rather than later. Mumsnetters already feel the relationship between the two brands is quite strong.”

BRANDS REVIEWING

Asda

“A number of people have contacted us through social media asking us about our advertising policy in the News of the World following the phone hacking allegations that emerged this week.

“As we’ve explained in individual replies, we understand people’s concerns and reiterate that we have no plans to advertise in the News of the World.

“In fact, contrary to some news reports we’re not a big spender on advertising in the News of the World - or indeed any Sunday paper. In this calendar year we have only spent around £34,000 on advertisements in the News of the World newspaper.”

Argos

“We have no current plans for advertising with the News of the World. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Easyjet

“We will actively monitor the situation and await the outcome of any investigation.”

Procter & Gamble

“We are very aware of the situation and share the growing concern amongst the public. We are monitoring it closely and will be reviewing our options. We will wait for the outcome of official investigations before commenting further.”

William Hill

“We are reviewing any commercial arrangements we may have in place with News of the World.”

Npower (Original statement 5 July)

“We note the concerns which have arisen on the back of fresh allegations of phone hacking against the News of the World. We are currently reviewing our options.”

Everything Everywhere
“We are currently reviewing our advertising position with News of the World following the recent allegations, and await the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.”

BRANDS WITH NO PLANS TO REVIEW

Brand Alley

“BrandAlley has no plans to review their advertising placement and are not in a position to comment over these upsetting allegations.

“We will follow the investigation as it unfolds; no decisions will be made until police investigations are concluded. News International has instigated a full investigation into allegations towards a freelancer who once worked for News of the World. We have been assured that they will take appropriate strong action if any truth is found in these allegations.”

The Co-operative’s original position (5 July)

“These are allegations. We have no plans to withdraw our advertising.”

BRANDS MONITORING

Help for Heroes

“The allegations involving the News of the World are very serious and we cannot begin to imagine what the families of the fallen heroes are going through at this time.  This is a matter for the police and is currently under investigation.  Help for Heroes does not pay for any advertising and as such has no formal contractual partnership with News International or any other media provider.  Supporting our heroes is, and will always be, our priority.”

Morrisons

We realise that the phone tapping allegations are serious and are being investigated. We will continue to monitor the situation over the next week before making any decisions on our advertising, but we will NOT be advertising in the News of hte World this weekend”. Morrisons also pointed out to Marketing Week that it had never planned to advertise in the paper this weekend anyway.

Barnardo’s

“Barnardo’s were shocked and saddened to hear the recent allegations in relation to unethical practices by the NOTW - especially where they relate to families going through great trauma.

“Our only relationship with the paper is an event that thanks those people who give tirelessly to children in their communities, and it would be an enormous pity for such a celebration to disappear.

“We welcome a public inquiry. If the allegations are shown to be true and we are not convinced that practices have changed at the paper to prevent this happening again we would have to withdraw our involvement in the event.”

TescoClubcard

Tesco


“These latest allegations will cause huge distress to a family which has suffered enough. It’s now a matter for the police.

“Like everyone, we await the outcome of their investigation.”

EasyJet

“EasyJet understands the concerns raised by the public, including many of our own staff and passengers, about these serious and shocking claims.

“We will actively monitor the situation and await the outcome of any investigation.”

Virgin Media

“We patiently await the outcome of any investigation.”

UPDATE: “NOTW has already printed & sealed an insert for their mag & have told us it cannot be changed, but there will be no more after this.”

Vodafone

“We are monitoring developments closely.”

BRANDS NOT COMMENTING

Dixons

”There are a number of factors that determine our media planning and we constantly review all the media we use. However, we do not comment on specific cases.”

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CocaCola

“We have no advertising currently running with the News of the World and none scheduled for the future. We are shocked by the new allegations that have been made.”

BT

“We are not commenting.”

Unilever

“We do not comment on our media buying plans.”

Sainsbury’s

“We advertise in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and TV and radio stations. The views and practices of any organisations that carry out advertising do not represent those of Sainsbury’s. That said, it would be prudent to await the outcome of the investigation.”

THE REGULATOR

Ofcom

“In the light of the current public debate about phone hacking and other allegations, Ofcom confirms that it has a duty to be satisfied on an ongoing basis that the holder of a broadcasting licence is ‘fit and proper’. 

It is clearly not for Ofcom to investigate matters which properly lie in the hands of the police and the courts, however we are closely monitoring the situation and in particular the investigations by the relevant authorities into the alleged unlawful activities.”

Watch Lara O’Reilly on last night’s BBC News talking about the ongoing NOTW crisis and how advertisers are responsding, here

Readers' comments (10)

  • Jebus, Vodaphone are even considering being associated with the hacking of a dead girls phone, regardless of the status of allegation,surely that's enough to steer clear...what's wrong with these people?

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  • It is intriguing how the responses tally so closely to each organisations brand values.

    The only sensible comment comes from Co-Op. "These are currently only allegations"

    Surely until proven in a court of law one must presume innocence, no matter how unlikely it might seem.

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  • Allegations damage reputations. What is a brand if not a reputation?

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  • some more commentary

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  • I agree with the comment that these are only allegations. We live in a democracy where innocent until proven guilty. Once a case has been proven this should be the time to make decisions on media purchase, not decisions made on pure speculation or other media inferences.

    It might also be interesting to note how many of these withdrawing advertisers are actually contracted to advertise with NOTW and will therefore lose money by withdrawing their support - I suspect not many!

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  • What have the Premier Leage got to say regarding their disgust with News Corp/Sky.

    Silence is deafening!!!!!!

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  • Advertisers boycotting NOTW is done for reasons of their brand image, not out of the concern that NOTW acted against basic morality. If that were the case, advertisers would have abandoned NOTW long ago. "News of the World" is a misnomer on at least two counts, anyway.

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  • "I agree with the comment that these are only allegations."

    However, a company should act to protect their brand from the IMPRESSION of unethical practice. Whether the allegations are proven or not, it is only prudent to consider public perception and therefore suspend advertising until the facts emerge.

    Having said that, lets face facts here, we know they HAVE been proven to have hacked phones. We know that they have lied about the extent of the hacking. We know they have obstructed and diverted investigation and covered up.

    On the basis of that alone a company should be pulling their partnerships with News International as a whole.

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  • I would have to agree with the Anonymous commenter who notes that companies should keep mindful of the impression of their association with brands that have engaged in unethical practices, such as the allegations against NOTW. As in most things in business, perception is often reality, at least when it comes to brand affinity and the reputation.

    Until these allegations are fleshed out and proven true or false, one way or another, companies that are currently advertising with NOTW would be wise to err on the side of caution until the facts fully emerge.

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  • For me personally, working in communications, the questions raised are - are business pressures eroding standards in journalism? Is its credibility at stake? What are the implications for the public relations profession?

    Standards in journalism is being tackled by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) through its next CIPR TV broadcast (13 July 2011, 5pm).

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