Sweary mums are scaring off Mumsnet's advertisers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/13/cwords-and-fbombs.html

In other news, UK prosecco sales are up 79% this year.

Coincidence? I think not.

At 3 quid a bottle, nap time is wine-o-clock.


So advertisers are threatening to withdraw their ads because of swearing by the people they want to sell stuff to?

I do hope the article makes more sense…

No, apparently not - at least not anything the Economist will let me read.


It could be viewed through a language evolution lens; people are constantly seeking to express themselves, and Ofcom’s language policing aside, the words fuck and shit carry a lot less weight than they used to. So naturally people resort to more extreme wording to express how truly mad they are.

If I’m the advertiser though, should I care whether the people on a discussion board are getting more sweary? As long as they keep buying our jewelry or visiting the fancy houses, what do they care.

As an aside, I’d be interested to see if the language on Gransnet follows a similar pattern.


Well according to the Indy, Mumsnet say no one has contacted them to say they’re going to withdraw advertising.

Ms Roberts said: “We haven’t been contacted by any advertisers with any concerns about swearing on Mumsnet and we have no plans to change our policy on allowing swearing on our forums. Mumsnet is after all a site for grown ups which people visit to get advice, support and sometimes to let off a bit of steam.”


I think they object to their products being seen alongside such language. Which is their right. I mean the general idea is no different from not wanting to show up on the Daily Stormer.


What I really want to know is what is an objectionable derivative of “dick”? The best I can think of is “dicking” as in “hot dickings” but that’s just silly.

Dickhead? Limp-dicked? Just plain old ‘you dick’?


Well, I kind of get that. Except that these are apparently exactly the people they do want to advertise to.

So effectively, the advertisers are saying we’re only interested in selling our stuff to you if you meet our standards.

I know that’s par for the course for fashion brands so Bulgari makes sense. I can sort of see the National Trust saying we don’t want busloads of tanked-up, sweary mums turning up demanding gin and cream teas.

But confused.com?

If they seriously think anyone uses their site without significant amounts of swearing, they’re deluded.


“dickishness” is a popular synonym for, well, for all kinds of fuckery, actually


Holy shitsnacks! I’m going to fucking well buy that fucking Bulgari watch whether or not some assholes say “twat” on a fucking website. Dickheads.


I definitely think its an overreach by the advertisers part. If anything other savvy companies could and should take advantage by embracing the adult nature of the forum and get some customer loyalty.


Except that the actual content on Daily Stormer is offensive. Mumsnet’s content is pretty anodyne, I’m guessing. I mean, I don’t think you can advertise anywhere on the internet without rubbing shoulders with a sweary comment section - (unless of course comments with swear words are moderated out). Then you still have swear-free comments that are often racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic etc.


Perhaps not on this side of the cultural divide. :slight_smile:

As @Grey_Devil says above it’s an overreach.

I substituted every “mum” for “nun”, it makes the article 500% funnier and weirder.


I’d suggest they utilize one of the many available profanity filters and make it a defaulted to “on” toggle to protect those victorian age eyes amongst them.

I thought profanity was an art form in the UK?!
Those advertisers should embrace it and learn who their customers are.

I’m guessing Bulgari is hoping to target a more upscale client. When I hear people who continually use foul language, it screams WalMart and NASCAR to me.

Perhaps to you, but foul language has nothing to do with Walmart or NASCAR, and i would not make that association. In fact i could make a sailor blush with my language at times and i consider myself as well educated person. Context matters, if you’re speaking frankly and honestly you’d be comfortable dropping some swear words and i can’t imagine it’d be all that different in a parenting forum where adults are speaking openly about personal topics.

I can’t see how that’s a problem for an advertiser. These people aren’t talking about anything that is controversial, they’re open about their thoughts and using adult language. Its perhaps not for every advertiser but in the grand scheme of things its pretty harmless.