Leaked Emails Shows Snapchat Threatened To Run Pro-Gun NRA Ads On Gun Safety Campaign Unless Company Paid Up
There’s a Snapchat scandal unfolding and its thanks to leaked emails obtained by the website Mic.com. In the emails, pro-gun safety group Everytown for Gun Safety (a Michael Bloomberg charity) was told by Snapchat that they had to spend money with Snapchat’s Advertising branch or run the risk of Snapchat running pro-gun NRA ads on their gun safety campaign.
Everytown for Gun Safety was set to run an editorial campaign featuring families who have lost members to gunshot wounds, and this is a campaign that Snapchat Editorial was excited to partner with them on for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. When Everytown for Gun Safety first reached out to Snapchat about running the campaign they were quoted $150,000 by Snapchat’s head of political sales. While this was all happening, Snapchat’s news team had contacted Everytown for Gun Safety about running editorial free of charge because it’s a campaign they believed in, and the campaign feature high-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
Since Snapchat’s editorial department offered to feature the campaign for free, Everytown for Gun Safety backed off of Snapchat’s political sales quote only to receive some fucked up emails.
In mid-May, shortly after Saliterman became aware that another arm of Snapchat was effectively undercutting him on a client he’d been working to secure, he sent an email to Everytown.
“I just learned our News Team is doing a Live Story on National Gun Violence Awareness Day,” Saliterman’s message began. “I would urgently like to speak with you about advertising opportunities within the story, as there will be three ad slots. We are also talking to the NRA about running ads within the story.”
Everytown responded via email, explaining it could not afford the advertising rate, but expressing concern about having its stories of lives lost to gun violence flanked by pro-gun advertising.
Saliterman explained that, as is standard of most media organizations, the editorial and advertising divisions of Snapchat operate independently of each other — a firewall that appears to have contributed in this case to one department’s effective sabotaging of another. He also again brought up the possibility that the NRA, which advertised with Snapchat during a presidential debate in 2015, would advertise on the package.
“That’s really unfortunate news on your budget, as Snapchat reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. on a daily basis and I don’t believe there’s a more efficient way to reach that audience,” Saliterman said in his final email to the charity. “To be clear, the story has the potential to be bought by any advertiser, including the NRA, which will enable the advertiser to run three 10-sec video ads within the story. This is analogous to how any advertiser could buy advertising in a TV news program about violence. The advertising will not impact the editorial content within the story as our teams are independent.”
If this is all legit then this is a pretty sketchy move on behalf of Snapchat, regardless of whether you stand with the NRA or the gun safety group at the center of this scandal. To try and extort a company for $$$$$ by threatening them with NRA ads is fucked up.
Once it became apparent that Snapchat’s editorial was offering up the campaign promotion for free the Sales branch should have backed the fuck off. Instead, it appears as if they tried to play off the charity’s worst fears and threaten to run pro-gun NRA ads on top of their pro-gun safety/anti-gun violence campaign.
To read about how Snapchat is responding to this unfolding scandal you can CLICK HERE to head on over to Mic.com.