Christmas is a time of love, peace, and goodwill to all – that’s what we’re told anyway. The holidays are a time for being together with family, for doing your bit for others, and helping out those more unfortunate. From our earliest days, this message is ingrained in us from the books that we read as children to the films we watch and the music we listen to.
Every year, adworld taps into this and brands left, right, and centre release inspiring, heartwarming, and utterly festive tales about friendship, selflessness, and the joy that comes from looking out for others. Whatever the subject or setting, the message is the same.
But what if goodwill to all isn’t just meant for Christmas? What if after the lights have been taken down and the last leftovers have been polished off, what if even then, we could still cling onto this positive, humanitarian message?
Founded in the despairing wake of Brexit, Stop Funding Hate (SFH) was set up by a group of people who met online. It wasn’t just the sheer volume of resulting hate crimes that horrified the group, it was the demonising messages of violence and division that plagued the UK media. What was even worse was the realisation that the two were intrinsically linked, direclty fueling the divisive behaviors and reinforcing them by messages promoted in the media.
SFH have already had great success following Lego’s announcement that they will be permanently cutting ties with the Daily Mail. This comes off the back of a concerned father writing to the brand on Facebook and earnestly expressing that their ties with these publications “were wrong.” Whilst this isn’t the first time the Danish brand has been cajoled into doing the right thing, the public’s reaction to Lego’s decision has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s hope that other brand’s will follow in Lego’s footsteps and step up to their responsibilities as global influencers.
SFH has been catapulted into the public eye in the last week as a result of their “brand jamming” film that latched onto other festive ads and rode the accumulated hype. This pastiche of Christmas ads highlight the irony that we talk about looking after others “even if they’re distant strangers, even if we’ve been told they’re our enemy” and yet after Christmas we stop caring. The film highlights the fact that the millions we spend at John Lewis, Waitrose, M&S, and Sainsbury’s is then used to buy ad space in the very papers spewing the noxious slew of hate.
The film urges retailers not to advertise in newspapers that promote division or intolerance and also calls for greater responsibility to be taken when it comes to brand association. SFH demands that big brands avoid sitting on the fence when it comes to broader political and social issues, despite the fact that this can often be seen as controversial. In response to this, John Lewis and Waitrose have said they do not “make editorial judgment on a particular newspaper,” or as one Stop Funding Hate tweet put it, “I may not agree with what you say but I’ll happily pay for your megaphone #ThingsVoltaireNeverSaid.”
These publications would happily have us set against our friends, neighbours, and colleagues, not just strangers or our alleged “enemies.” Should we not be concerned as to what the cumulative effect of all this negativity is having on us? And just think about what this hate rhetoric is doing to our children who are repeatedly exposed to it. Children, who perhaps can’t differentiate between poisonous propaganda selling “the truth” and well, the truth.
Stop Funding Hate is effectively articulating the disgust felt by many and offering an alternative voice to align themselves with. More than calling into question a grim and shameful reality, Stop Funding Hate represents consumer activism based purely on a care and concern for fellow human beings. Who can argue with that?
We need causes and campaigns like this this, instead of “fighting fire with fire” and swiping out in an endless war of “an eye for an eye,” lobby for positive change in a constructive way.
This is the kind of example we want to set for our children and this is the kind of message we should spread, regardless the time of the year.
Campaign: What if goodwill to all wasn’t only meant for Christmas?
Brand: Stop Funding Hate