The Wall Street Journal has reported that MTV and Target blocked ads mentioning terms related to the social unrest that is growing through the country. According to the report, Target block ads mentioning victims of police brutality such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Meanwhile, MTV blocked ads mentioning more encompassing terms such as protests and Black Lives Matter. These terms are believed to be a part of each company’s “block list.”
Block lists are not new in advertisement. In the past, large brands blocked terms such as shooting, bomb and immigration. In some cases, block lists help to avoid ads touching on controversial topics. In other cases, the goal is to avoid profiting on sensitive topics. Recently, Target joined the #StopHateForProfit in an effort to pull sensitive ads from Instagram and Facebook.
“It’s defunding our journalism at a time when it’s imperative for us to be the front lines doing this kind of work,” Vice Media Executive Paul Wallace said.
Vice Media’s Black Lives Matter related coverage reached its peak popularity in June, but the site saw a 57% drop in ad prices in June because brands are avoiding placing sensitive ads around those topics.
Target nor MTV have issued a statement regarding this most recent report.