Why Activists Are Demanding Procter & Gamble React To Russia's Horrific LGBT Discrimination
As stories continue to emerge about the horrific violence and discrimination against the LGBT community in Russia, activists are demanding that major brands with deep pockets do something about it. Procter & Gamble is the latest company to be pulled into the scandal and called to action.
Not only is P&G one of the largest global sponsors of the Olympics, which will be held in Russia in 2014, but it is also a major Russian advertiser on networks that proliferate homophobic ideology.
A 2012 video of Russian TV personality Dmitry Kiselev has recently gone viral. To cheers, Kiselev stated:
I think ... [gays] should be banned from donating blood, sperm. And their hearts, in case of the automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.
And according to a Change.org petition, P&G ads play throughout the network's commercial breaks.
"Barely an hour goes by on Russia’s biggest TV networks without at least one ad from Procter & Gamble, whose ubiquitous spots for shampoos, toothpaste and maxi pads have made it Russia’s biggest television advertiser," The Wall Street Journal reported last year when Russians wanted to boycott P&G after a network it advertised on ran a controversial hour-long program called "Anatomy of a Protest."
"Once almost all brands stayed clear of hot political and social issues, but today's trend to participate in what has become known as 'advocacy marketing' has changed the game," marketing exec Brad Fuller wrote in Ad Age. And P&G might not be able to ignore it.
Activists have begun posting calls to boycott the Olympics and pull its Russian ad dollars on P&G's Facebook page.
Facebook user Thom Ender explained his surprise that P&G had not responded to activists' question on the social network:
So I emailed your corporations, and got a nonresponse, "We are aware of this issue and are taking this matter very seriously. We will forward your comments to the appropriate people within P&G."
I do not take your response very seriously. What is taking your company so long to respond? Do you think ignoring these posts helps you and that the issue will just go away?
P&G did not immediately respond to BI's request for a comment.
It is taking a far more silent approach than Stoli, another company that has been pulled into the scandal.
Even though Stoli is headquartered in Luxembourg, produced in Latvia, and according to the LATimes "controlled by a Russian billionaire driven into exile for his opposition to just the kind of official prejudice exhibited in the new law targeting gays," activist have taken to social media to reprimand the "Russian" vodka.
Stoli, however, has been responding to individual posters. It also changed the image on the Stoli.com homepage to this:
Given its silence on the subject, Procter & Gamble is probably still formulating its official strategy.