Those brave champions of mediocrity, blandness, the white, and the wealthy (The Daily Mail, natch) published a particularly bile-fuelled attempt at a dirty protest on Saturday [FreezePage link] – spinning two separate stories into a maelstrom of middle-class mind-masturbation.
It shouts in the header, “Outrage as Tesco backs gay festival… but drops support for cancer charity event“. No hysteria there.
As Marketing Week revealed over a month ago, Tesco has called time on sponsoring Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life events after a decade of support. In charity terms this has been an immense corporate partnership – helping to raise hundreds of millions of pounds through advertising, marketing, event participants, and community support.
I feel it’s probably about the right time for another firm to inject new blood and passion into Race for Life, as CRUK shakes off its own problems with recruiting places this year (amid the common criticism of its refusal to let men take part in memory of lost wives, mothers, sisters, and so on – which would increase participants considerably incidentally).
Seperately, Pride London recently announced that Tesco is to be one of the Gold Sponsors – as well as Smirnoff who actually carry the mantle of headline sponsor (a fact omitted by The Mail) – of WorldPride 2012. As Pride’s website states, Tesco also invested in last year’s Gay Pride event – operating a family-friendly entertainment area.
The Daily Mail, however, let its filth and fury fly – reporting on these two unrelated and incomparable announcements as if they were either / or decisions; throwing in a large measure of homophobia courtesy of quoting that liberal organ The Catholic Herald.
I think this story gets my goat particularly because as usual there is no attempt to contextualise or rationalise charity and corporate relationships within the wider sector, nor to look at trends of supporter fatigue or brand renewal. No attempt at journalistic digging at how usual it is for companies to marry themselves to a charity for a decade. But then The Mail despises the fact that charities operate as businesses to deliver vital services, so that doesn’t exactly surprise me.
Full disclosure: my own employer Whizz-Kidz continues to receive a huge amount of pro bono and financial support from Tesco that has helped us deliver more services to disabled children; and the supermarket remains a stalwart provider of work placements for our young disabled kids who aren’t being given breaks by other companies. Their employees also raised over £65,000 for the charity through fundraising events alone last year.
Tesco – like any huge corporate – can be knocked for any number of things; but accusing them of ditching one newspaper group’s (and Catholic homophobes’) notion of charitable support and neglecting others is patently inaccurate and (to use a topical phrase) exercising willful blindness.