On Saturday, readers of the Mail were offered two rolls of free wrapping paper by Paperchase.
This was quickly noted by Stop Funding Hate, the online activist group which targets companies advertising in the Sun, Daily Mail and Express, arguing that the media outlets promote divisive and hateful views.
The group has played a role in encouraging The Body Shop, Lego, Joy, Evans Cycles and others to pull such ads - but PR pros have also warned that brands should be wary of the message it sends when they bow to this pressure.
After a torrid few weeks of divisive stories about trans people, is a Daily Mail promotion really what customers want to see @FromPaperchase? #StartSpreadingLove #StopFundingHate https://t.co/T1psWVEFpk pic.twitter.com/BI5Vf0KTgd— Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) November 18, 2017
Paperchase published a statement on Twitter a few hours later, saying: "We genuinely like to know what customers think about us." It promised to review all customer feedback "in detail". That tweet had received 480 responses at the time of writing.
Thank you for taking time to share your opinion. We genuinely like to know what customers think about us - even though on this occasion some of your feedback is uncomfortable to hear. We promise to review in detail all customer feedback on this promotion.— Paperchase (@FromPaperchase) November 18, 2017
Earlier this morning (Monday), Paperchase announced that having listened to feedback, it had realised it was "wrong" to run the promotion, was "truly sorry", and would never do it again.
It finished: "We apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt."
We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion. We now know we were wrong to do this - we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.— Paperchase (@FromPaperchase) November 20, 2017
Approached for comment, a spokesman for the Mail said that Paperchase had only run one promotion in the paper, and had no plans for any more.
He said: "It is deeply worrying that Paperchase should have allowed itself to be bullied into apologising - on the back of a derisory number of Facebook comments and tweets - to internet trolls orchestrated by a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media. Has the company considered what message they are sending to the four million people who read the Daily Mail on Saturday, many of whom will be their customers?
"It is one of the fundamental principles of free and fearless journalism that editorial decisions are not dictated by advertisers or commercial partners, and we are sure the PR industry will be as appalled as we are by Stop Funding Hate's attempts to threaten the Mail and other newspapers."