Advertising Is Not The Place for Playing It Safe

First Lowe’s, now KAYAK.

The online travel site also pulled its ads from TLC’s new show, “All-American Muslim.” Which is bad enough on its own, but the situation is made worse by company executives trying to explain the decision away like it’s no big thing.

Steve Hafner, CEO and Cofounder writes on the company’s blog:

Our decision regarding advertising on All-American Muslim was in no way influenced by demands from third parties such as the Florida Family Association. We do try to avoid advertising on shows that may produce controversy, whether we support the content or not. We simply don’t want people to confuse our choice of where we spend our TV dollars with a political or moral agenda. Plus there are plenty of shows that are just as effective from a marketing perspective.

We’re not bigots, and we’re not experts in TV programming. We are trying to make the world’s best travel site. I hope this blog post puts this issue to rest and allows us to get back to work.

KAYAK’s argument is there are better media buys out there. That may be, but I don’t think that helps KAYAK’s cause much.

Stuart Elliott reports that KAYAK’s chief marketing officer, Robert Birge, contends he was misled by TLC about the nature of the show.

Here’s more on the race-based controversy from The Ed Show on MSNBC:



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.