Joshua Lowcock, chief digital & global brand safety officer at UM, says the presidential edict was “vague” on how the TikTok ban affects advertising. “We have not yet received advice from TikTok, so are currently advising impacted clients to seek their own legal counsel on whether it is appropriate, in the short term, to continue to advertise on TikTok,” he says.
Another agency executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says that Trump’s order does not cover media buying, so ad campaigns seem to be OK to run. “I’m hearing media buying is not one of the actions prohibited by this order, but obviously we are being watchful as to how this will affect the platform’s desirability over the medium-to-long term,” the agency exec says. “For now, it’s still an incredibly relevant audience for brands that want to be part of culture.”
The TikTok uncertainty is not new for advertisers. Since August, the Trump administration has been waging a pressure campaign against the popular Chinese-owned app, threatening to ban it if it does not sell its U.S. holdings. The president and his advisors have labeled TikTok a national security threat, and they have tried to force the company to sell to Oracle, which was co-founded by Larry Ellison, a well-known Trump ally. Critics of the administration have said the shotgun merger appeared to be an example of “crony capitalism,” with Trump using the umbrella of national security to usher in a sweetheart deal to a political ally.
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