The list of top advertisers on Fox News includes a mix of big businesses from Walmart and Applebee’s to smaller niche companies that specifically target a conservative audience, like MyPillow.
What you don’t typically see advertised on Fox News is luxury fashion. So it was particularly notable when, in November 2021, fashion resale company The RealReal began running ads on some of Fox’s most-watched shows, including “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Hour” and Sean Hannity’s “Hannity.”
It’s a seemingly odd choice. The RealReal’s website has two pages dedicated to diversity and social impact, and the company has vocally supported anti-racism measures such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Public records show The RealReal’s founder Julie Wainwright supported President Biden and various Democratic or progressive organizations like ActBlue in the past.
According to data from Media Matters for America, which tracks advertisers on Fox News, The RealReal has run 58 ads on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” 28 on “The Ingraham Hour” and 25 on “Hannity” since November. The hosts of all three shows have long histories of being criticized for vocally opposing many of the same things The RealReal and other fashion brands have championed in recent years.
For example, Carlson has fervently criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and has, in turn, been criticized for advancing racist ideas such as the so-called “Great Replacement.”
TV ads can be placed intentionally but are sometimes placed programmatically or through a third-party agency. When the process is automated, brands sometimes struggle with finding their ads placed alongside content they don’t want to be associated with, particularly on platforms like YouTube. The RealReal told Glossy it is “not currently advertising on Fox News” anymore, but according to Media Matters, The RealReal ads were on Fox News as recently as this month. The RealReal declined to say when it stopped running the ads or share whether its ads were placed on Fox News intentionally or programmatically.
“TV is part of our marketing strategy,” the company said in an email to Glossy. “As a performance-marketing organization, we evaluate data and results and adjust our approach, including our advertising channels, accordingly.”
Data shows that, this year, the company ran 22 ads on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” nine ads on “Hannity” and three ads each on “The Ingraham Angle” and “Jesse Watters Primetime,” according to Media Matters data. Additionally, it ran six ads on “Fox & Friends” and 19 ads on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
The RealReal didn’t specify what data and results led it to Fox News or what data caused it to stop. A look at The RealReal’s customer demographics and Fox News viewers show some overlap.
Around half of Fox News viewers are over the age of 50. More than half of The RealReal’s sellers last year were over the age of 42. In fact, The RealReal president Rati Sahi Levesque told Glossy in January that facilitating a generational handoff between older sellers and younger buyers was part of the company’s ongoing strategy.
At a time when brands are increasingly pressured to stand by and embody their stated values, brand safety is a real concern for advertising on Fox News. Advertisers on the network have faced frequent criticism for the incendiary claims regularly made on Fox News’ various programs. Dozens of progressive organizations have urged advertisers over the years to stop supporting the network, and many have done so, including fashion companies like Poshmark.
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters said most major brands have been wise to stay away from associating themselves with Fox News for brand safety reasons.
“It just doesn’t make any sense based on TheRealReal’s customers,” he said. “Their brand is in a very different space than, say, the pro-insurrection MyPillow company.“