M&S linked to ‘migrant-hatred’ via Daily Mail advertising in new campaign

M&S linked to ‘migrant-hatred’ via Daily Mail advertising in new campaign

Date: 27 February 2017

Free print quality photos of leaflets hidden in M&S stores can be downloaded here

Marks and Spencer (M&S) customers across the UK are being encouraged to hide tiny leaflets in a variety of clothes and food stuffs that call on the high street chain to end its advertising relationship with the Daily Mail newspaper because of its influence in negatively portraying migrants and refugees in the UK.

The leaflets contain a real Daily Mail headline that proclaimed, “This tidal wave of migrants could be the biggest threat to Europe since the war,” and the back of the leaflet parodies a famous M&S advertising slogan, with “This isn’t just ordinary hate and racism, it’s M&S-funded hate and racism.” The leaflet links to a website where customers are encouraged to email Steve Rowe the CEO of M&S. 

The miniature leaflets are initially being mailed to 40 Global Justice Now local groups across the country and will later be made available upon request to a wider audience.

A recent United Nations report singled out the UK’s media as being “uniquely aggressive in its campaigns against refugees and migrants,” and hate crimes across the UK rose by 100% in the months following the EU referendum result.  Recent campaign groups like Stop Funding Hate have been putting pressure on brands with strong ethical guidelines that advertise in newspapers like the Daily Mail, arguing that, “customers are becoming increasingly aware that by shopping with brands who advertise in divisive newspapers, they are inadvertently funding their own demonisation, or that of their family, friends and neighbours.”

In November 2016 the toy company Lego announced it was ending its promotional deals with the Daily Mail over its coverage of migration and refugees. More recently 935 companies have withdrawn advertising from the far-right website Breitbart following a public backlash and the work of the Sleeping Giants campaign.

Aisha Dodwell, migration campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“Marks and Spencer proudly proclaims its ethical business credentials and presents itself as a socially responsible company so why are they associating themselves with newspapers that promote hate? The tidal wave of hatred and mistrust of migrants and refugees in the UK is being stoked and encouraged by purposefully selective and insinuating reporting from newspapers like the Daily Mail. This has huge and real consequences, from the often-violent hate crimes that migrants face on the streets of the UK, through to the child refugees in Calais that the government has decided to abandon.

“People are increasingly recognising the responsibility that newspapers like the Daily Mail have for the toxic and hate-fuelled atmosphere around the migration debate in the UK, and they are using their consumer power to put pressure on companies like Marks and Spencer that are financially supporting them to do it.”