Brands could be the tabloids' Achilles heel in the #StopFundingHate campaign

Last Friday, #StopFundingHate became a trending topic in the UK after thousands on Twitter urged Daily Mail advertisers to pull their support for the paper after that day's front page portrayed three high-court judges as "enemies of the people".

Brands are getting the raw end of the stick in their relationship with tabloids, argues Richard Wilson
Brands are getting the raw end of the stick in their relationship with tabloids, argues Richard Wilson
To many, this seemed calculated to inflame tensions - at a time when public figures are already facing threats, intimidation and even violence.

Amid falling sales, newspapers like the Daily Mail are using ever more aggressive tactics to boost their readership - and thereby their advertising revenue. 

So far this year, the paper has run more than 53 front pages targeting refugees and migrants. 
As a business model it makes sense - so long as the brands stay on board. 

But, with growing public concern over the social impact of these headlines - and experts warning that hostile media coverage is fuelling hate crime - the advertisers are coming under increasing pressure. 

Stop Funding Hate believes foremost in freedom of expression and of the press. 

We also believe in the freedom for people to choose where they spend their money - money that goes towards advertising in newspapers like The Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express. 

We don’t have a position on the political spectrum. 

We’re not trying to bring down the tabloids. We don’t believe in using hate to fight hate. We remind our supporters to keep it civil at all times. 

But, if the media is not going to reform itself, and ensure that it serves the public interest rather than undermining it, then people will exercise their rights as consumers. 

The realisation that brands are responsible for such a large share of newspapers’ income is new to many people. 

There’s also growing awareness that even those who’d never buy the Mail are helping fund its activities through the companies we shop with. 

What is our ultimate objective? 

We’re trying to save lives and save communities. These are endangered by headlines that divide and demonise - that have gone beyond all common decency and mutual respect. It is no surprise the UK has the least trusted press in Europe.

Increasingly, brands are getting the raw side of the deal. 

While their positive image rubs off on the paper, the paper's negative image rubs off on them. 
We are already seeing people take note of the brands on the front pages of the Mail and Express. 

Many are sharing their disappointment on social media. Many more are likely to be mentally forming a negative association.

It’s clear that our campaign is resonating with people. Whatever the outcome, we are already changing the terms of the debate. 

Richard Wilson is the founder of Stop Funding Hate

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