USAA is assessing its advertising placement rules after learning our commercials were airing on opinion-based television news programs, which is inconsistent with a policy in place since 2011.
Last week, USAA ads were removed from several programs, including ”Hannity” on Fox News, “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, and “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on CNN.
We heard from our members and know the decision to stop advertising on these shows created confusion and concern among those who believe USAA was caving to pressure or abandoning someone who is a strong supporter of the military. This isn’t the case. The decision was based on our advertising policy and not the result of outside pressure or related to anything done or said on these programs.
While we review our advertising policy, all previously removed USAA ads on programs representing a variety of perspectives will be reinstated later this week. We understand that the lines between news and commentary are increasingly blurred. As such, the review of our policy will seek to determine how best to apply it in the current media environment.
USAA recognizes the value of these TV programs and believes in free speech. Our advertising policy seeks to avoid any suggestion of bias or support for one set of views over another and will continue to honor diversity and inclusion of perspectives.
Since 1922, USAA has proudly served the military and their families, and our ranks are heavy with veterans and military spouses. All of our employees are unwavering in their fulfillment of USAA’s mission in our members’ times of need – from automobile accidents to catastrophic weather losses; providing loans at no interest when those serving don’t get paid; and through donations to our community and non-profit organizations dedicated to military family resiliency.
You advertise where your potential customers can be reached. I get it. We all get it. No bias or support is inferred. The moment you withdraw advertising, you exhibit the very bias you you say you want to avoid. Stop trying to be politically correct and stick to business. The single thing for which I hold you accountable are reasonable rates for a good product. Fail in this regard and you're fired.
Our family is going to research moving most of our accounts, including checking, savings, car insurance, and home insurance, as well as credit cards. We likely cannot move our mortage now, since the refi wasn't long ago, but of all the things we'd like to move, that would be the one after all the errors we had to find in our household, pre-closing date 18 months ago! We hate leaving business with USAA that we never got any apology on, were sent a certified letter saying "this matter is closed and we won't be apologizing" and yet, we found more mistakes months later that needed correction at the highest level of USAA. We weren't impressed.
We all deserve and need a REAL apology, USAA. You underestimated your members, the people who truly OWN the company, when you gave the half-hearted reasons for pulling out of Hannity. It wasn't that people were calling for you to stop advertising on other networks, even for people to cheer that we all watch and love Hannity's show, but it was the pulling out of one of the military-friendliest networks and staunchest supporters of the US military (when has CNN, MSNBC, or any other network or "celeb" done much for the military on a regular basis?) that bothered everyone and was a real shock. We all read online, on other blogs, some of your employees' confessions of how the culture at USAA is also becoming squeamishly PC (Rainbow marches, LGBTQ support, not that there is a thing wrong with it, but we were all told online in these blogs over the weekend that this is what permeates your culture at USAA now behind the scenes, for employees to support, do, read). Now, we are supposed to also believe you "did not know" or "did not notice" that Hannity was receiving funds until recently or that he's an opinion show--all of a sudden!
Our family doesn't watch Hannity much, but due to the terror attacks in London, we had the news on with BBC and Fox alternating last week...when we heard Hannity saying he was being squeezed out by a coordinated liberal attack on his advertising, and that's when the firestorm hadn't even begun and he didn't mention USAA or anything specific. All of us could easily compare and contrast, others were watching and would notice, USAA, when you lied to your customers and told all of us that this was being done "across the board" but for many days afterward, and until this media watchdog got involved, you were not planning to move any dollars from CNN, MSNBC, etc. for their opinion shows.
We are owed an apology and many of us have left, will leave, so that means rates go up for everyone else. I want to know how much money was lost already! We will all have higher insurance rates, for sure, with this customer base loss of last week and the weekend and the fallout, and so I don't want it passed to me. That's why we want to go, but I'd be curious to hear the tally of how many dollars pulled out the past four or five days!
USAA, unlike your ugly, rude, Ops and Channels "leadership" of a couple of years ago, so rude to our family, you owe us an apology you can't get out of. As my former college friend used to say, "Karma doesn't let you go, and it will find you"--and now, it's your turn to grovel, USAA.