The Twitter campaign ‘Stop Funding Hate’, established in August of this year, has achieved its first major success with an announcement by Lego that the company will no longer be running their promotional campaign with Daily Mail. For several years, free Lego toys have been available through a voucher published in the newspaper, but Lego have said that they are no longer planning any further activity with the paper.
It comes as a huge victory to ‘Stop Funding Hate’, which was created to try and persuade companies to stop advertising and thus providing funds, for newspapers such as the Daily Mail, The Sun and Daily Express. Campaigners say that these newspapers, which use ‘divisive hate campaigns’ and have a ‘culture of hate, demonisation and division’, could be stopped by the cutting of funding from advertisers. A recent example of a headline that has caused outrage is from the Daily Mail, calling the high court judges who made a ruling on Article 50 ‘enemies of the people’.
‘Stop Funding Hate’ has been busy targeting companies such as Virgin Media, Marks and Spencer and Co-Op, with some small successes recorded so far. In September, alongside hundreds of complaints from individuals, it helped convince Specsavers to pull a prominent front page advertisement with the Daily Express. Following a sustained campaign, Co-Op has promised to review its own advertising policy in the new year. Gary Lineker, the public face of Walkers crisps has reportedly been in talks with the company about their advertising in The Sun. Lineker, who is facing a backlash from the newspaper after criticising the terminology that some headlines used to describe the migrant crisis, is a high profile and vocal supporter of ‘Stop Funding Hate’.
The success of the Lego campaign was helped in part by a letter that went viral last week; written from a father to the company, explaining why he won’t be buying Lego for his child as long as they work alongside the Daily Mail, has been shared almost 13,000 times on Facebook alone in just over a week since it was written.
‘Stop Funding Hate’ have released a video ‘brandjamming’ the John Lewis Christmas advert, urging customers to speak out to major companies such as John Lewis, Waitrose, Marks and Spencers and Sainsburys and demand they review their own advertising policies. The video asks how such companies can preach messages of goodwill at Christmas and then continue to advertise in the newspapers that are ‘dividing us against each other’, and has been shared almost 20,000 times already on Twitter.
With Lego leading the way, ‘Stop Funding Hate’ will surely only gather new momentum in this targeted Christmas campaign and beyond.