Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is Rosetta Stone's advertising supporting hateful speech?

Rosetta Stone's ubiquitous marketing coverage seems to have gotten it caught up in the ongoing controversy over Fox New's Glenn Beck.

The video that started the controversy and how Rosetta's mixed up in it all, after the jump.

The controversy started when Beck said that President Obama "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" (at 0:33 in the video below) (which presumably would include Obama's own mother), which Beck then followed up with "I'm saying he has a problem. This guy [meaning Obama], I believe, is a racist" (at 2:03 in the video below).

That's led to "what is shaping up to be one of the more effective boycott campaigns in years" of advertising on Beck's show:
Among the advertisers to pull spots from the popular cable talk show are Geico, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway …; Procter & Gamble …; Sargento Cheese; and Progressive Insurance…
As a Sargento spokeswoman put it:
[W]e do not want to be associated with hateful speech used by either liberal or conservative television hosts.
Supporters of the boycott are sending around lists of Beck's advertisers, and who advertised on Friday's show? None other than Rosetta Stone.

So is Rosetta Stone supporting hateful speech by advertising on Beck's show? I'd hazard a guess that their all-over-the-place advertising was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that they'll duck the controversy by pulling their ads from the show as soon as the bureaucratic gears crank through. They weren't among Saturday's advertisers, so perhaps they've already made the necessary call to Fox.

Advertisers deserting Fox News' Glenn Beck [MarketWatch]
Small Beer, Big Hangover [New York Times]
Glenn Beck Sucks! [Facebook]


  1. AmericanoArrabiatoAug 17, 2009, 7:56:00 AM

    It's better for serious language learners if Rosetta Stone stops advertising altogether. As a serious tool for language learning, quite frankly, it sucks. Glen Beck will do just fine without it.

  2. Yeah, that's my conclusion thus far as well; I'm not particularly impressed with their method. I could be made to revise my conclusion if someone comes out with some valid scientific results (that were not paid for by Rosetta Stone) showing the effectiveness of their method vis-à-vis other language-learning methods. Given the cost that that'd likely involve, I don't imagine it happening anytime soon, unfortunately.

    But don't count on Rosetta Stone's advertising ending anytime soon. Financially, they're doing just fine.