Is this a new low for the advertising industry?
The regulators (love ’em) have previously washed their hands of political campaigns, but the Brexit referendum, contested by ‘Project Fear’ on the one side and a series of barefaced, brazen lies on the other, may force them to reconsider.
So far, the industry bigwigs appear to be leaning towards maintaining the ‘free-for-all’ nature of political campaigning. They say politicians’ claims and counter claims are difficult to prove one way or the other and are often simply opinion anyway. They also point to the immediate time frame – by the time you had evaluated a piece of content it would have already served its purpose. So taking it down wouldn’t help. What they don’t say is almost more interesting – that getting banned is one of the best ways for content to become famous. So being controversial becomes an end in itself (Paddy Power? Protein World?)
All of these points apply equally to lots of other advertising categories, but we would be surprised if the regulators washed their hands of those. So why the resistance? Something to do with the power and influence of the players perhaps (that’s the media giants as much as the politicians themselves)? Don’t make waves? Surely not.
In a world, now being described by proper journalists as ‘post truth’ this is all a bit disturbing.