Is the mantra “all publicity is good publicity” a thing of the past?
Some in the U.K. think so, especially as it’s becoming increasingly important for brand managers to maintain a public image that reflects their brand’s personality.
This week—in response to a recent #StopTheHate campaign and Change.org petition—Lego executives vowed to cut all advertising ties with the Daily Mail, a U.K. tabloid.
The Independent reports:
The Stop Funding Hate campaign was founded in August following what it said was “hatred, discrimination and demonization” being promoted by some newspapers.
A Daily Mail spokesman said, “Our agreement with Lego has finished and we have no plans to run any promotional activity with Lego in the foreseeable future.”
The original agreement had been for a promotional campaign of free giveaways rather than an advertisement.
For Denmark-based Lego, the move away from the Daily Mail is just as much about protecting its family-friendly image as it is about continuing to build trust with customers.
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Here’s what Lego’s Roar Rude Trangbaek told The Independent:
We spend a lot of time listening to what children have to say. And when parents and grandparents take the time to let us know how they feel, we always listen just as carefully.
We are both humbled and honored to see how much consumers all over the world express their care for our company and our brand. And we will continuously do our very best to live up to the trust and faith that people all around the world show us every day.
Here’s how execs announced their decision online:
@StopFundingHate We have finished the agreement with The Daily Mail and are not planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) November 12, 2016
Responses thus far have been in support of the brand’s decision to align itself with Stop Funding Hate, the campaign that’s asking large companies to stop advertising in newspapers accused of promoting “hatred, discrimination and demonization.”
CNN Money reports:
Stop Funding Hate has accused The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express of running “hate campaigns” in their coverage of migration, race and religion. They’re asking brands to pull advertisements from the tabloids.
Here’s an example of a heavily scrutinized Daily Mail cover:
Stop Funding Hate co-founder Richard Wilson told CNN Money that he thinks Lego’s decision should serve as a lesson for all big-name companies seeking to disassociate from “front pages that dehumanize people to boost readership.”
Our campaign aims to shift the balance of incentives so that printing hateful headlines begins to cost more in lost advertising than it makes in sales.
So far, Lego has been the largest retailer to come out against U.K. tabloid advertising. Stop Funding Hate’s next move is to go after major retailers (John Lewis, Co-op, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer) in the weeks leading up to Christmas and other holidays.