Pinterest made the bold decision to completely ban ads that had imagery or language related to weight loss on their platform. They are hoping that this creates a safer, more inclusive experience for their users.
While many other platforms provide resources to accompany potentially triggering messages about weight issues, this is the first time that a brand took such a strong stance. It’s not even the first step that Pinterest took. Previously, they already banned ads about pills/supplements, weight loss procedures, body shaming, and claims regarding unrealistic results. This takes it a step further, though.
In order to be truly inclusive, they are widening the umbrella and banning other potentially triggering content that isn’t so obvious. The banned content includes:
- Weight loss testimonials
- Language and imagery that idealizes or shames certain body types
- References to BMI
- Wearable body sculpting products (like waist trainers) or creams
The Creator Code
This move was not made in a vacuum. Rather it is part of an overall strategy to create a “safer and kinder digital space.”
The Creator Code is a set of guidelines that “encourages users to make intentional, inclusive, and compassionate content.” It’s necessary to put a guideline like this in place for their creators since they drive the majority of the content on the platform. Ads make up just a fraction of what users see.
Pinterest is also backing up these initiatives by partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association. When a user searches for keywords that are typically associated with eating disorders, the search is blocked. Users are then redirected to the NEDA website to get some resources on EDs.
Why is Pinterest forfeiting the revenue?
This is clearly leaving a lot of money on the table. Just think of platforms like Instagram and all of the Flat Tummy Tea or waist trainer or weight loss supplement ads that you see. There is clearly a huge market for these products, and Pinterest is telling them no.
But they’re playing the long game. They are empathizing with their customers. Pinterest is putting themselves in their users’ shoes and considering being bombarded with these messages everywhere else on social media. They know that their users need a safe, non-judgemental space on the internet. So Pinterest is banking on the fact that that ad revenue sacrifice will ultimately be worth it by creating a more loyal user base that can feel that their emotional and psychological needs are being taken into account.
Who knows, this may even start a wider trend in social media. Because we all know how experiences that users or customers have with one platform/brand can totally shift the expectations that they have for the other companies they interact with.
This is a great example of leading through empathy
Empathy is one of the best, and most sustainable, strategies for a successful business. When you show your customers that you understand what they care about, and actively take steps to deliver on those things, you’re on a whole different level than even the most well-established companies. Pinterest is setting a great example of what it looks like to put this empathy into practice.
There are several other companies that consistently engrain empathy into their process. And reap the rewards of it – i.e. more loyal customers, and sustainable revenue growth. Download our eBook, Companies Leading Through Empathy to see what brands like Best Buy, Jeep Wrangler, Cleveland Clinic, and more do to lead through empathy. We’ll give you the inspiration to start implementing empathy in your business, as well as tangible takeaways to give you the strategy for how to move forward.
Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Digital Marketer at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.