A few weeks ago the stationery retailer Paperchase has announced that it is ending its promotional partnership with the Daily Mail:
We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion. We now know we were wrong to do this – we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.
— Paperchase (@FromPaperchase) November 20, 2017
This morning’s news follows hundreds of complaints over the weekend on Twitter and Facebook from Paperchase customers concerned about the newspaper’s divisive coverage targeting the LGBT community and other minority groups.
In a statement on Twitter, the company said:
“We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion. We now know we were wrong to do this – we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.”
Stop Funding Hate Director Richard Wilson said: “This is great news in the run-up to Christmas. Paperchase is well-known for its positive and inclusive values, and today’s decision reaffirms that commitment. Paperchase deserves credit for listening to its customers and acting so promptly to rethink its relationship with the Daily Mail.
Amid growing concern among consumers about the impact of divisive media, more and more companies are seeing the business benefits of advertising ethically. We hope that other companies will now follow Paperchase’s example.”
This has created a backlash from some people both in and outside of the industry who feel that the vocal minority of a few may be affecting and effectively holding companies to ransom who wish to advertise with papers such as the Mail, and who have characterised this as a left/right argument, however I think it is not as simple as that. There are plenty of right wing newspapers who do not face the scrutiny that the Daily Mail gets, I view it far more as a brand safety argument. Last year the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), last year singled out both The Sun and Daily Mail in a report on “hate speech” and discrimination in the UK, and they are an apolitical organisation with no vested interest. With ad placement and brand safety becoming a bigger and bigger issue, then I’m not sure you can blame people for not wanting their ads associated with media described by the ECRI as using “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”. At the time ECRI chair Christian Ahlund said: “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians,”. Beasring all of that in mind and the importance of brand safety, it seems like this is not as simple as companies being held to ransom, there are issues with having your beand linked to papers such as the Daily Mail.