“Brand values” ad boycott of the Mail overlooks a bigger one – free speech

Club Med has joined Center Parcs in pulling its ads from the Daily Mail following a piece by outspoken columnist Richard Littlejohn disputing that “two dads is the new normal.” Club Med, like Center Parcs, says this goes against its “brand values.”

We might debate what exactly these are: one suspects that both holiday companies are happy to welcome gay couples with children and don’t want to offend them.

And why should they? But it seems excessive to have a fit of the vapours when a journalist doesn’t agree with you.

This follows on from Virgin Trains dropping the Mail from its newspaper offering; allegedly because the Mail had offended some of its staff’s BVs but, one suspects, again, more because it had relentlessly hammered Richard Branson and his pals for cocking up the East Coast train line. Branson then backtracked.

It’s one thing to have such supposedly all-encompassing BVs – it’s a free country after all, isn’t it? – but to become such sensitive flowers and then try to punish newspapers and others for offering contrary views sucks.

Presumably Center Parcs and Club Med advertise in the Mail because it reaches people they want to sell to. So are they saying they don’t want these people – presumably quite a lot of people – at their resorts?

Must be quite hard being a media buyer these days (that’s if you’re not a machine). Do you have to read everything in the paper to ensure that it all agrees with the written-in-stone brand values of AcmePlumbingSolutions?

The Mail gets grumpier and more eccentric by the day – the Brexit debate seems to have sent editor-in-chief Paul Dacre and the gang into even more of a lather than hitherto – but Littlejohn often hits the nail on the head, even though it’s often aimed at your head. But that’s what columnists do.

Time for these advertisers – who are probably listening too closely to their PR muppets, all obsessed by social media – to find a darkened room and have a lie down.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Gosh, am I tired of that fallacious claim.
    Freedom of speech is there to ensure the GOVERNMENT can’t sue or imprison its citizens just for expressing criticism or contrary opinions.
    It also prevents crazies from bombing your HQ because they disagreed with your article.

    It doesn’t however prevent people from NOT buying your newspaper when they disagree with you, nor does it prevent brands from refusing to fund your articles if they disagree with them.
    That is also a form of free speech – which is not the sole entitlement of the press.

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