‘Media investment and marketing should end for now’: 75% of WFA brands shun Russia

Three-quarters of top WFA brands have shunned Russia in solidarity with Ukraine

Three-quarters of top brands that are members of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) have reallocated, reduced or cut spending entirely in the country in a show of support for Ukraine, according to a recent poll on investment attitudes.

31 global brand owners, including Natura, Coca-Cola, Lego, Dole Sunshine, Mars and Diageo, represent a combined $43bn in global ad spend according to the WFA. Three in four have moved to minimize exposure to Russia amid international outrage at the ongoing invasion.

The mass exodus follows a call by the global body, which represents the common interests of marketers, for all its members to “... carefully review and reconsider their current media and marketing investments in Russia, in particular with those media outlets that are close to or effectively part of the Russian administration.”

WFA chief executive officer Stephan Loerke said: “In light of the horrifying events in Ukraine, the global marketing industry must speak out. Every company will have to make its own decision but our recommendation is that media investment and marketing in Russia should end for now.”

The WFA is hosting a series of weekly meetings in partnership with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) to ensure that advertising investment does not support, financially or otherwise, misinformation.

Global revulsion at Russia’s unprovoked military action has seen western business pull out en masse, with WPP, P&G and Accenture leading the exodus.

The withdrawal comes as the UK imposes sanctions on Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, one of seven ‘pro-Kremlin’ Russian oligarchs with close links to Vladimir Putin to have their assets frozen.