Stop Funding Hate…public service or media bully?

Stop Funding Hate is a lobbying group set up in August 2016 to “take on the divisive hate campaigns on the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support.”  One of its first high-profile ‘targets’ was Lego at the end of 2016, convincing the company to stop advertising and cut all ties with The Daily Mail.  Since then the lobbying group, founded by Richard Wilson, has continued to go from strength to strength, currently boasting 86,000+ followers on Twitter and 261,000+ followers on Facebook.

The next most documented ‘target’ of their online lobbying this year has been popular stationary shop Paperchase.  After running a front page promotion in The Daily Mail offering consumers the chance to get their hands on some free Christmas wrapping paper, Stop Funding Hate tweeted:

“After a torrid few weeks of divisive stories about trans people, is a Daily Mail promotion really what customers want to see @FromPaperchase?”

After initially responding by thanking customers for bringing the promotion to their attention and saying they’d look in to and review it, the company soon released a statement on Twitter saying;

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You would think with a public apology the whole ordeal may have been over for Paperchase, they’d be able to go on about their business and just be more selective with their advertising in the future.  However, following its surrender to the demands of Stop Funding Hate and its many supporters, Paperchase faced a massive backlash from the other side of the fence, judging the company for backing down and apologising.

It really is true what they say…you can’t please everyone.

Paperchase is not the only highly-publicised ‘target’ of Stop Funding Hate this year.  Not to be outshone by Moz the Monster – Buster the boxer features in another Christmas advert this year, with the lobbying group urging John Lewis to rethink its choice of The Daily Mail for its advertising.

 

In the UK print media has been continually dwindling with more and more publications being forced to close down each year.  The question could be asked, are Stop Funding Hate trying to destroy the print media industry all together?

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It is fair to assume that Stop Funding Hate will continue to lobby and push for businesses to stop advertising in the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express – publishing daily a breakdown of businesses who still choose to advertise within them, as if you name and shame.

But what does this mean for the marketing communications industry?

Whether you veer towards the left, the right…or find yourself standing in the middle of it all a little confused!  There is no denying, Stop Funding Hate is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  But should advertisers be listening to them and should PR practitioners be concerned about the reputations of the businesses they represent deciding to advertise in The Daily Mail?

While you may not agree with everything that The Daily Mail stands for, there is no denying that it is one of the most read newspapers in the UK, along with the immense popularity of Daily Mail Online – a business can achieve massive coverage with one small advert in The Daily Mail, making it a very lucrative advertising tool and potentially worth a little backlash from the select few who object to the newspaper.

If we can learn anything from the case of Paperchase, it is that if you are going to make a decision to advertise somewhere, convict to it and don’t back down and apologise if a few people aren’t happy with it…after all, you can’t please everyone.

 

Jonny Allen is a final year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University.  You can find him on LinkedIn here – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonny-allen-257237112/