Civic Science

Media personalities whose controversial views draw ire from the public have resulted in many consumers turning away from a brand because of its advertising spending with the on-air talent. A new study finds that a year ago, viewers boycotted brands based on news network advertising. Now, there are boycotts of prime-time TV, new albums and entire platforms.

According to research from Civic Science, more than a quarter of U.S. adults say that have avoided a brand in the past year as a way to express dissatisfaction in media. In June 2017, 22% of adults said they currently were boycotting a product, while 61% had never engaged in such behavior. Today, 28% of U.S. adults say they’re currently boycotting a product, while 52% have never boycotted. In addition, last June close to no consumers answered the question with “Yes, not right now, but I have done this in the past.” Today, that response surpasses 20%.

“The significant drop in the ‘No’ camp in just a year goes to show the growth of tribalism we’ve seen in the past year,” the Civic Science study concludes. In a separate piece titled “Donald Trump May Be Changing Media and Advertising Forever,” the publication notes, “More than ever, people on all sides of the octagon are glued to the political cage match, shifting their finite attention away from everything else. With a perpetual stream of new political scandals, maneuvers, and Beltway drama of all kinds, who has time to watch trite things like football or sitcoms?”

Meanwhile, the boycott analysis also found that since last year, there’s been a jump in the number of Millennials that are currently boycotting, and a drop in Gen Xers. Here’s the same question asked back in 2017. Millennials answering yes total 29% (26% in 2017), while Gen X accounts for 38% (42% in 2017) and Baby Boomers 33% (32% in 2017).

Civic Science concludes that in today’s polarized media landscape, boycotting is one way for consumers to feel that their voice is heard. “Beyond voting in elections, voting with your dollar (or your eyes) can be a way to express dissatisfaction in the actions of others. Seeing a boost in this behavior over the year only goes to show that the U.S. population is working to have their voices heard, in whatever way they can.”