Geico, Others Join Ad Boycott of Fox's Beck Over "Obama Is Racist" Remarks

Last Updated Aug 12, 2009 10:34 AM EDT

Geico, Men's Wearhouse, State Farm and Sargento have joined four other advertisers in pulling their ads from Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck show after Beck called President Obama a racist. Geico pledged to send its Beck money to "other network programs." which sounds like the dollars are shifting elsewhere on Fox, not leaving Fox entirely.

UPDATE: A Fox spokesperson confirmed: "The advertisers referenced have all moved their spots from Beck to other programs on the network so there has been no revenue lost."

Advertisers that remain on Beck's show -- and thus on the boycott hit list -- are: General Electric, Farmers Insurance, Office Depot, Nestlé (Gerber), Red Lobster, Travelocity, the U.S. Postal Service, Walmart and Wyeth.

In an exchange on Fox and Friends, Beck said Obama has:
-- a deep-seeded hatred for white people -- I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.
In an Aug. 11 press release, Geico said:
GEICO instructed its ad buying service to redistribute its inventory of rotational spots on FOX-TV to their other network programs, exclusive of the Glenn Beck program ... GEICO no longer runs any paid advertising spots during Mr. Beck's program.
Geico, Men's Wearhouse, State Farm and Sargento join LexisNexis, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance and S.C. Johnson in abandoning Beck's show. The campaign is organized by Color of Change, a black advocacy group that has highlighted Fox's use of racial stereotypes before. FNC once captioned the first lady as "Obama's baby mama," for instance (see image).

Some on the right believe the boycott will only draw more attention to the show and make Beck more popular. Other hangers-on include ex-adman-turned-talking-head Donny Deutsch, who urged advertisers to take their money off Fox (and put it on MSNBC, presumably?)

The campaign is the second advertiser boycott to afflict Fox this year. The first one was by Liverpool F.C. supporters who successfully urged the channel to remove host Steven Cohen from Fox Soccer Channel after he made a series of comments falsely blaming Liverpool fans for 96 deaths in a stadium crush 20 years ago.

Bottom line: Beck is clearly generating a lot of publicity for Fox and the channel's audience essentially appreciates his stuff. Fox will face a decision: Keep him on the air with fewer advertisers or lower prices and hope to make up the difference with ad dollars going on lower-rated shows; or ask Beck to apologize and move on.