Extra-marital dating website Ashley Madison has offered to buy all excess ad inventory for the next three months from advertisers who have pulled out of Rush Limbaugh’s show, according to a letter from CEO Noel Biderman posted yesterday on Adrants.
As advertisers continue to flee the program, the dating site will have quite a lot of air time to fill. According to Media Matters, 38 advertisers have pulled their spots from the radio show after Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student a “slut” for supporting healthcare coverage of contraception.
On Monday’s show, Limbaugh seemed unfazed by the fleeing advertisers. “Those advertisers who no longer want your business, fine,” he said. “We’ll replace them.” But I don’t think this is the kind of advertiser he had in mind.
Here is what Ashley Madison’s CEO wrote to the show’s ad department:
Despite Mr. Limbaugh’s sincere apology to Sandra Fluke it appears the apology has not stemmed the tide of major corporations pulling out of advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show. The recent wave of national media coverage about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments seems to be creating conditions whereby corporations feel they must disassociate with the show from a public relations perspective. We do not believe Mr. Limbaugh should be penalised for expressing his opinion, especially in America. We are writing to offer to step up and fill the void left by the corporations who have pulled their advertising.
While Ashley Madison says that they’re stepping up in support of Limbaugh’s right to express his opinion, it seems pretty obvious that their goal in all of this is to drum up publicity. After all, the dating website, which matches up married individuals, has never been one to shy away from controversy, especially political controversy. In fact, they tend to invite it.
In December, they decided to endorse Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid by erecting a billboard of the serial adulterer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that read: “Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband. Welcome to the AshleyMadison.com Era.”
But Ashley Madison isn’t the only controversial advertiser hoping to garner air time and publicity, from the Limbaugh debacle. SeekingArrangement.com, a website that matches “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies”, submitted an offer to purchase up to $500,000 of ad inventory.
“Rush Limbaugh is one of the greatest examples of the modern day Sugar Daddy,” said CEO Brandon Wade, in a statement. “We wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t come forward and support him in his time of need.”
The company notes the irony in supporting a personality who used the same term – slut – that many in the media use to describe users of their site, but like Ashley Madison they note their support of his free speech.
But the odds of either of these advertising procuring air time, is probably fairly small. Especially since Limbaugh has already made it known that he already rejects millions of dollars in advertising each year. Specifically, he called out General Motors who he rejected as an advertiser after the company had accepted government bailouts.
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