J&J, Wayfair, TripAdvisor and Nutrish pull 'Ingraham Angle' ads after Parkland remarks

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Laura Ingraham.
Laura Ingraham. Credit: Andrew Harrer_Bloomberg

Brands are pulling back on Laura Ingraham's popular Fox News show after the TV host derided David Hogg, the Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor turned prominent gun control advocate. On Thursday, Nutrish, Wayfair, TripAdvisor and Johnson & Johnson all said they will halt advertising on "The Ingraham Angle" because of her remarks.

On Wednesday, Ingraham tweeted that Hogg had "whined" about not getting into his college choices. In response, Hogg used Twitter to call for a boycott of all advertisers on the Ingraham Angle. Hogg has more than 600,000 Twitter followers.

Soon after, Nutrish, the pet food brand owned by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, tweeted that it had stopped its ad spending on Ingraham's show.

TripAdvisor said it will stop advertising on the program after noting that its company values include "We are better together."

"We also believe Americans can disagree while still being agreeable, and that the free exchange of ideas within a community, in a peaceful manner, is the cornerstone of our democracy," a company spokesman said in a statement. "We do not, however, condone the inappropriate comments made by this broadcaster. In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency."

The spokesman added that while TripAdvisor's media buys target a variety of time slots and audiences to reflect its diverse customer base, the company will continue to monitor its spending to ensure it fits the brand's guidelines.

Wayfair, the online home goods retailer, said Ingraham's remarks did not reflect the company's values and that it will stop advertising on the program.

"We support open dialogue and debate on issues. However, the decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values," said a Wayfair spokeswoman, who noted that the brand will continue to advertise on Fox News.

And Johnson & Johnson said it will stop promoting the prescription drug Stelara on the show. "We're pulling advertising from Ms. Ingraham's program," a J&J spokeswoman said.

TripAdvisor, Wayfair and J&J said they will continue to advertise on Fox News. Nutrish did not respond to an inquiry on that point.

Other Ingraham advertisers including Allstate, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Hulu and Red Lobster did not respond to requests for comment.

Ingraham apologized in a statement by Thursday afternoon. "Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —including David Hogg. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David immediately after that horrific shooting. And as always, he's welcome to come on my show anytime for a productive discussion."

One of the most-watched, highest-rated shows on cable news, "The Ingraham Angle" serves as a reliable reach vehicle for brands looking to get their message across to an older cohort of viewers. The show's demographics are manifest in the sheer volume of pharmaceutical brands that advertise in it; per iSpot.tv data, five representatives of the category (the aforementioned Stelara as well as Symbicort, Xarelto Otezla and Humira) were among the top 20 spenders in "The Ingraham Angle" during the first quarter this year.

But Ingraham isn't the only option for marketers pushing an array of anodynes and anticoagulants, as well as non-medical offerings like travel, insurance and auto. In keeping with an ongoing battle at 10 p.m., MSNBC's "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell" is on track to top "The Ingraham Angle" this month among adults 25 to 54, which is the demographic most relevant to advertisers in cable news. In February, Ingraham bested O'Donnell in the demo, after being edged out by the MSNBC program in the previous month. And back and forth it goes; in 2017, "The Ingraham Angle" claimed bragging rights to the time slot by a wafer-thin margin, beating out "The Last Word" by just 46,000 apposite viewers, or four one hundredths of a ratings point.

Advertisers who buy time in CNN's neutral-by-comparison 10 p.m. show, "CNN Tonight With Don Lemon," will do so knowing that they'll reach 25 percent fewer targeted viewers than they would with a Fox News or MSNBC buy. "The Ingraham Angle" won in total viewers in January and February, and will do so again this month.

Contributing: Anthony Crupi, Jeanine Poggi, Jack Neff

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