Librarians upset by Airbnb's tone in new poster campaign

Badland: 

"Dear Public Library System, Please use the $12 million n hotel taxes to keep the library open later." - so reads one of the headlines in Airbnb's new poster campaign. Other headlines ask public works for "more bike lanes, like this one" or nudge the board of education to keep art in schools. Some readers will think they have a point, others have recoiled at the tone. Martha Kenney posted a rebuttal on Facebook "Out of your $12 mil of hotel tax, only 1.4% percent goes to the SF Public Libraries. So that's $168,000. Divided by the 868 library staff, we have $193 per person. Assuming each employee works 5 days per week minus holidays, this is $0.78 per employee per day. Since that's significantly under San Francisco minimum wage ($12.25/hr), I doubt that your hotel tax can keep the libraries open more than a minute or two later."

Jessamyn West, a librarian, tweeted the facebook link to draw more attention to it.

Airbnb has said that they will be removing the campaign as "the tone" wasn't quite right. Airbnb comes off as a brat, having finally paid $12 million in taxes, and now demanding that it go to the things they like. Many west coast city residents have discovered rents and housing prices spiralling out of control and many blame Airbnb for this development. Airbnb are getting more proactive with local San Francisco billboard campaigns, as a proposition on the ballot to restrict short-term rentals could end up "disrupting" their disruptive business.

"The intent was to show the hotel tax contribution from our hosts and guests, which is roughly $1 million per month. It was the wrong tone and we apologize to anyone who was offended. These ads are being taken down immediately,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

While Airbnb spent $12 million in taxes, they also spent $8 million on a campaign opposing Proposition F, which will restrict short-term rentals. Had Airbnb donated $8 million dollars directly to the libraries it loves so much, they could have stayed open a little longer.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (6)

  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    They come across as bellends and total wankers here. Yeah, I'm swearing in British and you love it.

    Oct 22, 2015
  • Ashley's picture
    Ashley (not verified)

    So when will the SF Public Library be receiving its huge check? Since Airbnb loves them so much and all.

    Oct 24, 2015
  • JG's picture
    JG (not verified)

    "Had Airbnb donated $8 million dollars directly to the libraries it loves so much, they could have stayed open a little longer." Yes and then they wouldn't have a business....

    Oct 26, 2015
  • kidsleepy's picture
    kidsleepy

    Did you read the previous sentence? "While Airbnb spent $12 million in taxes, they also spent $8 million on a campaign opposing Proposition F, which will restrict short-term rentals." In other words, they spent eight million dollars on lobbying. They already spent the money. On Lobbying.

    Oct 26, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Since Airbnb paid $12 million in taxes and $8 million on a campaign opposing Proposition F and are still in business, it does seem that your assessment there is wrong. One can however argue that a business doesn't need to be donating money to libraries or whatever else they like, outside of paying taxes, and shouldn't have to - though a lot of them still do.

    Oct 26, 2015

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