In possibly the most middle-class attack on the free press ever, campaign group Stop Funding Hate has made its own John Lewis-style Christmas advert, calling on big brands to boycott the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express by removing their advertising.
According to its Facebook page, Stop Funding Hate aims to ‘tackle the culture of hate, demonisation and division that is poisoning our political discourse’, and claims tabloids are spreading ‘hate speech’. In the video, against the backdrop of sentimental festive advert clips and accompanied by weepy music, the viewer is informed, ‘The money we spend on gifts is used to stir HOSTILITY’. This is followed by snapshots of tabloid headlines about migrants and Muslims.
It goes on: ‘This is not a Christmas ad, but it is about them. Every year there’s another beautiful story with a message about looking out for others even if they are distant strangers, even if we’ve been told they’re our enemy. But once the tinsel has been taken down, everything changes and millions of pounds we spend at Christmas at John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S is used to buy adverts in papers with another message, that some of us are different, that some of us are only a PROBLEM, a BURDEN or a THREAT.’
The idea is that – in a fit of moral rage, presumably – shoppers at those stores will write to the companies and demand they withdraw advertising from the nasty tabloids. Whether they do this before or after they’ve bought their organic Christmas turkey and curly kale is not clear.
The video has been viewed 6.3million times, shared over 200,000 times on Facebook, and garnered tens of thousands of retweets. It’s already had one significant win: Danish toy manufacturer Lego announced at the weekend that it was withdrawing all advertising from the Daily Mail. Apparently, the Co-op is also reviewing its advertising after pressure from campaigners, and Gary Lineker has backed the campaign and spoken to Walkers Crisps, which he promotes, about its advertising.