Southeastern Grocers, whose Winn-Dixie banner recently denied it was planning to change its name, will pause social media ads indefinitely while urging the platforms to champion "progressive change."
As retailers grapple with how to show their support for racial equity, a new tactic has emerged: removing ads from social media platforms. Acting in the wake of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos.’ decision and certain to be followed by others in the retail industry, Southeastern Grocers has revealed that it, too, will place a pause on social media advertising, starting July 1.
“Across our country, we find ourselves in a time in which harsh realities are being confronted, difficult questions are being asked and divisive feelings are being expressed,” the company noted in an emailed statement. “We all have a choice in how we respond and move forward to provide a better future for all those who have for far too long been oppressed. As a company, we believe taking a stand and fostering a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity extends far beyond our own four walls.”
The Jacksonville, Florida-based grocer described its move as “an indefinite hold on further advertising on Facebook and Instagram social media platforms in hopes that they continue to champion progressive change and better enforce their stated policies. We are standing in solidarity with businesses participating in the Stop Hate for Profit campaign that share our commitment to freedom, equality and justice.”
The company added: “We passionately believe that we are stronger together and every voice matters. This is a time for action – and we hope that other grocery retailers, both in the Southeast and throughout the U.S., will join us in this movement.”
Southeastern Grocers hasn’t escaped scrutiny during the present moment of re-evaluating behaviors, brands and words that can be perceived as racist; the company recently denied reports that it was considering a name change for its venerable Winn-Dixie banner, due to the name’s association for many with a romanticized vision of the Old South.
As outrage has built over the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a African-American man, in police custody and other similar cases elsewhere, many grocers have already responded by making donations to organizations working for racial justice, and developing initiatives to address the issue.
The parent company of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Southeastern Grocers is one of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the United States, with grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Southeastern Grocers is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in in North America.