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CANCEL CULTURE

Marketers in the UK worried about falling victim to ‘cancel culture’

By our News Team | 2022

Upcoming Qatar World Cup is one of those that could be hit by ‘cancelling’ due to concerns about host nation’s human rights record.

Many UK marketers fear their brands could fall victim to a so-called global ‘cancel culture’, according to research undertaken by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

The research found that 67% of marketers are limiting their work to campaigns for British audiences, while 60% said global marketing campaigns are challenging because of the need to be ‘politically correct’.

Cancel Culture

Construction work at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar ahead of the 2022 soccer World Cup. Photo credit: Codas via Wikimedia Commons

According to the CIM, the survey found that two-fifths of respondents feared being victims of ‘cancel culture’ – the contemporary tendency to engage in ‘mass cancelling’ (boycotting) of brands, individuals, organisations etc as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.

The institute’s findings are based on an online survey of 500 UK adults working in marketing, which was carried out in March this year.

Interestingly, the research found that senior marketers were less worried about the risks of cancel culture compared with younger marketers, which the CIM said raises concerns about a lack of awareness among older professionals.

Being aware of other cultures is a marketing challange

Being aware and appreciative of the different cultures tops the list of challenges for UK marketers when creating an international campaign (39% of respondents), according to the research, while ensuring the campaign resonates with a global audience (34%) is the second-biggest challenge, respondents said.

Making UK marketing campaigns translatable is in third place (32%), with meeting global company brand guidelines (30%) in fourth.

CIM also noted that ahead of the Qatar soccer 2022 World Cup due to be played later this year, brands are are-evaluating their sponsorship strategy due to controversy around the country’s human rights record – most notably in the building of the stadiums for the tournament.

“Across the world, consumers and employees are becoming more vocal in calling out companies when they put a foot wrong, making sure they’re held accountable for their actions,” said Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the CIM.

“Yet this behaviour shouldn’t mean UK marketers shy away from being ambitious, scaling up campaigns and chasing global opportunities. We can’t risk losing out on international work because of a lack of confidence, especially when we’re trying to bounce back from the pandemic.”

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