#CNNBlackmail trends - brands better brace themselves for a massive boycott

Readers of Adland should be familiar with several consumer boycott movements against brands due to where their ads are placed, rather than the content of the ads, by now.

In 2014 the Gamergate movement shunned big names like Mercedes, Intel and Adobe, and somehow this snowballed into the fall of the Gawker empire. Gawker and their poor press ethics lost their case against Hulk Hogan, who was awarded 115 million dollars for Gawker's invasion of his privacy. Similar movements have existed for a long time, but there seems to be an avalanche as of late. Kellogg's removed their ads from Breitbart, and people are still tweeting #StopFundingHate to brands that support tabloids like The Sun, The Daily Mail and Breitbart due to programmatic ad buys.

Youtube clamps down on what content can be monetized in response to global brands boycotting the Google Ad network. Advertisers have stepped away from all kinds of controversy, from Bill O'Reilley's show to Kathy Griffin's photographs.

In this new Twitterverse of fast-paced new social media, and easily fired up communities celebrities and journalists alike have stirred up all kinds of controversy with tweets of gifs and old memes. In the end, a cartoon frog did decide the U.S. election, as a 71-year old man turned out to be the greatest Twitter shitposter of all time. Three days ago President Trump tweeted a gif, which is an edited version of Trump wrestling WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the ground in 2007. The CNN logo is superimposed on McMahon's face.

Since long before he was POTUS; Trump has accused CNN of being "Fake news." Most of the U.S. media immediately rallied to have live panel discussions, think pieces, and reports on how memes like this incite violence on the media itself. Journalists are at risk in war zones and in oppressive regimes, so their concern is not unfounded. However, the media itself can be used as a propaganda tool to incite violence against specific groups or people, and it often is, even in the U.S.

CNN tracked down the originator of the meme via Reddit and wrote a piece "How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF", and now the meme-wars were suddenly cranked up to 11, due to a single line in the article. Twitter has finally unified the world, as all media went nuts..

CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behaviour on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

While the news media continues the write stories about the meme-makers apologies, about how Julian Assange's tweets that have been retweeted by Donald Trump Jr are wrong, and whatever other angles they might find interesting, we here at Adland have only one thing to say to you, dear advertising and marketing readers: Brace yourselves for here comes a giant boycott avalanche. And it will not be just the brands seen on CNN that will be boycotted, all the cable providers that carry CNN will be cancelled too.

You see, this giant Twitter maelstrom of bullying has more similarities to the aforementioned Gawker case than you'd think. Let's look back to this CNN reporter's Tweets of December 2013.... Specifically one about Justine Sacco who was fired from her job and basically had her life ruined, for cracking a joke on Twitter. It was Sam Biddle of Gawker who first picked up the joke, which created a global Twitter mob and countless articles in new media tabloids like Buzzfeed.

CNN and their reporter Andrew Kaczynski have in effect picked a fight with the entire internet by finding the WWE meme-maker. And not the fluffy unicorn filled part of the internet, but the young rebellious anti-authoritarian mean-joke-laughing part of the internet where a fast-paced culture thrives and things go in and out of fashion ten times as fast as a CNN news cycle. The part of the internet where meme-soldiers march, Sarge yells: "Question authority!" and the footsoldiers yell back in unison "Oh yeah? Sez who?"


It remains to be seen if this is CNN's "Gawker" moment. The symbolism of WWE wrestling somehow making an appearance in every one of these hyped up scandals is quite interesting too. The WWE is the gladiators of today, the entertainment meant to control the masses. But somehow the masses are using that tail to wag the dog.

Quick Update, it appears this Twitter maelstrom will only increase in speed, as Buzzfeed just pointed out that the meme tweeted by the President, was not the same as the one created by HanAssholeSolo, which means CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski outed the wrong guy.

Buzzfeed's Editor-in-Chief seems to lack an Occam's razor. The logical explanation is that President Trump simply tweeted a meme of the same idea, probably created by someone else, which is why they look slightly different. Trump's tweet also has audio. It's not unusual for someone to see a meme and then attempt to make a better version of it, but like Badlanders it's often impossible to find the original when both appear in the wild at the same time.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (2)

  • Rafael's picture
    Rafael (not verified)

    There's a guy on 4chan claiming his the one that created the version tweeted by Trump. He says he's a Mexican Trump supporter living in Mexico City.

    Jul 06, 2017

Leave a comment