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Advertising Risk

If you don’t know by now, there’s been a heap of controversy over CBS’ decision to group contestants by ethnicity for the next season of Survivor: Cook Island. Perhaps not the most PC thing to do for CBS. In fact, General Motors, The Coco-Cola Co., The Home Depot, United Parcel Service, and Campbell Soup have all pulled advertising and sponsorship from the reality show.

GM’s decision to leave the show, though not based on CBS’ new gimmick to reign in viewers, has definitely sent a signal to other advertisers. According to figures from TNS Media Intelligence, GM accounted for $14.7 million, or 18 percent of the $80.7 million spent by the 50 top advertisers of the show. Since GM’s pullout, CBS has announced that the void has been filled, yet the television network has not named which companies are now supporting the show.

What would you do? Is it safe for a company to align itself with a brand surrounded by controversy?

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