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We Need to Change the Way We Advertise

This is how UCOMM has been reaching distracted union households for years and all of labor should do the same

Kris LaGrange's picture
Apr 09, 2018

Sometimes UCOMM gets nonsensical heat for inadvertently placing digital ads on Breitbart. This time, a troll on the internet called out unions for having a pro-union ad on that site. The ad, which is used to drive traffic to a site that promotes collective bargaining, was not placed on Breitbart on purpose. The digital ad was there for two reasons. One, union teachers read that website. (I just threw up in my mouth). It's sad but true. We all have browsing habits, and if you visit websites that sell space to Google like Breitbart, Plenty of Fish or CNN, chances are you will see an ad catered to your interest on that website. Two, Breitbart - under pressure from the left to stop being so racist and bigoted, has taken a hit financially from advertisers. So, to make up the financial difference, Steve Bannon ordered Breitbart to list themselves in the "Google Anonymous Pool." UCOMM Blog is not part of that clandestine list of shady websites who will take money from anyone, but many sites that have trouble advertising are. So, what's our point? This raises a very interesting question. Does organized labor continue to ignore its bigoted and easily distracted membership? If our members are reading crap on Breitbart, Fox News and the Drudge Report, do we then make the narrow-minded decision to not advertise there for pennies on the dollar? Or, do we place important ads knowingly and wittingly - in the hopes of accomplishing what UCOMM often accomplishes - driving a lot of traffic from the average union member that their direct leadership lost. When we get that new traffic, the content and message that was produced by forward-thinking union leaders resonates, and most likely changes the minds of that member who clicked on that ad.

We deal with these issues on a weekly basis even though some trolls try to embarrass or shame our approach to be simple or shortsighted, but these same short sided approaches and attitudes gave us Donald Trump. In 2016, labor leaders at the local, statewide and international level were afraid to talk to their members about the dangers of Trump in the White House. Even when the facts were presented that a National Right-to-Work law would follow, union leaders were still mum. We believe it is both strategic and wise to take some of our very limited advertising dollars and grab distracted union households' attention wherever they are engaged. What union members hear and read when they leave the job influences how they think and vote.  If we all don't get our act together now, especially with no changes in regulations in online advertising in the wake of Cambridge Analytica - then we will experience the same outcome from our ranks in the 2018 elections;  40% of our members will once again vote against their own interest. Where did that 40% get that dumb idea from? Well Breitbart troll, Breitbart. 

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