Following last week’s piece, I was more than surprised that neither Tesco nor Unicef Ireland issued any response whatever on the day of publication (Thursday). It wasn’t until the Friday afternoon that Tesco submitted a letter to the Irish Times saying that all had been resolved, etc. Silence from Unicef.
Having tried several times earlier in the week to get hold of either the executive director or the press officer for Unicef Ireland, I went with the statement on their site, dated July 24th, 2009, which gave both barrels to Tesco for it being ravaged by a corporation heartlessly trying to “capitalise on one of our campaigns and subsequently damage an income stream which several of our programmes for children are dependant on”.
Imagine my surprise when, late last Friday evening, I finally got a response (by email) from Unicef Ireland, to the effect that the whole kerfuffle had in fact been resolved on August 19th last! I wrote back asking why, if this were the case, no statement had been issued either in response to my enquiries or to the media generally. Nearly a week later, and still no reponse from Unicef Ireland.
The plot thickens. Despite claiming a settlement dating all the way back to August 19th, only today (Sept 2nd) did a new ‘Joint statement on Change for Good’ appear on the Unicef Ireland site. It is sub-headed: “UNICEF Ireland and Tesco Ireland Joint Statement on Change for Good” and reads as follows:
“Following discussions, the dispute between Tesco Ireland and UNICEF Ireland was resolved on the 19th August 2009.
Tesco agreed to no longer use the term “Change for Good” in any of their marketing or advertising material from the 11th of September 2009 onward.
Tesco has undertaken to support UNICEF Ireland with an in store fundraising opportunity in the coming months. As in previous years, Tesco will continue to support UNICEF Ireland’s ongoing campaign with Pampers to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus”.
The punch-line? The article is stamped: “Date posted: 19-8-09”. I have faithfully checked the Unicef Ireland every day since last week’s article appeared, and am certain that this “joint” statement which they are now claiming to have been posted two weeks ago has only in fact appeared today.
While remaining pleased that Tesco have seen the light in terms of their extremely ill-advised ‘Change for Good’ campaign, what’s with the cloak-and-dagger about pretending this was in the public domain on August 19th last? Was this the “price” of securing a deal with Tesco “to support UNICEF Ireland with an in store fundraising opportunity in the coming months” ?
It should be incumbent on anyone who throws around strongly worded allegations in the public domain (especially when they depend on the public’s trust in fund-raising) to be open and accountable. Unicef Ireland has, in my view, fallen short on this count.
I’ll be posting a copy of this blog entry to Everylittlehelps.ie as my final entry on the topic.