SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford Bros. said last week it will not buy advertising time on a television station whose news coverage of the recent security breach at Hannaford stores “lacked balance and fairness,” a company spokeswoman told SN.
Carol Eleazer, vice president of marketing for Hannaford, said the retailer fulfilled its commitment to buy television ads on Portland's WGME for the first quarter but opted not to buy advertising in the second quarter. At issue, she said, was that “much of the coverage and newscast promotion spots about the illegal data intrusion lacked fairness and balance and resulted in … a misrepresentation to its viewers and our customers.”
Eleazer declined to discuss specific issues Hannaford had with WGME's coverage of the data breach. The breach, reported last month, exposed 4.2 million credit and debit cards to fraudulent use. It impacted both Hannaford and its Florida-based sister chain, Sweetbay.
News 13 asked Hannaford repeatedly if it had reported any factual inaccuracies. Hannaford would only reply that the coverage was too “aggressive,” Terry Cole, general manager of WGME, said in a statement.
A poll on the station's website last week showed more than 65% of respondents disapproving of Hannaford's decision to pull its advertising.