Had been planning to write about the power of the multiples for some time, but what finally pushed me over the edge was a report in The Ticket in last Friday’s Irish Times, to the effect that the DVD cover of the horror/comedy flick ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’ had been censored at the direction of Tesco, among others.
Not wanting to depend wholly on heresay, I picked up a copy of the film in Tesco in Dun Laoghaire this week, and sure enough, the offending word was discreetly covered with a warning label. The phrase that so offended them was not ‘killers’, rather, it was ‘Lesbian’. Such bizarre prurience, but we’ve seen lots of this from Wal-Mart in the US, bucking to the demands of the Right by actively censoring books, magazines, even newspapers. The threat to the film’s producers, Momentum, was simple enough: either comply, or the all-powerful multiples won’t stock your movie. Resistance is futile.
Last month’s news report to the effect that Unicef Ireland were hopping mad about Tesco’s use of the ‘Change for Good’ slogan had already got me dusting off my partly-thumbed copy of Tescopoly, by Andrew Simms of the New Economics Forum. It was while writing up that the thought occurred to me that what’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander too, hence the decision to register Everylittlehelps.ie with the IEDR. The whole process is pretty quick these days, and the site was up and running just about in time for today’s published piece in the Irish Times.
Hosting this website gave me the opportunity to send a message back to Tesco Ireland from the general public, via an Online Petition requesting that they stop using the Unicef ‘Change for Good’ slogan (it’s splattered pretty much everywhere at the minute, despite a reported Tesco promise that this was just a short-term summer promo).
Reaction, at the time of writing, has been pretty good, with 123 online petitions submitted and the site having been visited around 500 times so far today. Will leave it running for a while and hopefully get a respectable number of completed petitions; then I just have to figure out how to “present” this to Tesco Ireland. Not that I’d have far to go. Their Irish HQ is in the bowels of the Dun Laoghaire shopping centre, only a couple of hundred metres from where this is written.
What remains to be seen is if any of the meeja will hop aboard (Tesco are a HUGE advertiser, so doubtless many media organisations tread very carefully around them). There was some light Twittering about it earlier today, as well as a very positive commentary on the Ideasgarden website. People do need to get on board.
“Unicef Ireland wishes to remind Tesco that the needs of the world’s most vulnerable children are of a bigger concern than a multinational organisation’s promotional campaign to increase their profit margins. We call on members of the public who have children’s welfare at heart, to consider carefully who they support when making consumer choices.” In their own words, that’s putting it about as clearly as you possibly can.
Now, where’s the outrage, folks?