Lego ends advertising with Daily Mail after calls for companies to 'Stop Funding Hate'

Toy company responds to campaigners by saying it is 'not planning any future promotional activity' with the right-wing paper

Benjamin Kentish
Saturday 12 November 2016 12:09 GMT
Lego stops advertising with Daily Mail

Lego will stop advertising its products in the Daily Mail, following a public campaign calling on big companies to drop adverts from newspapers accused of promoting “hatred, discrimination and demonisation”, the company has announced.

The Danish firm, which has previously run free giveaways in the newspaper, responded to social media campaigners Stop Funding Hate by tweeting: “We have finished the agreement with the Daily Mail and are not planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper."

Stop Funding Hate urges advertisers to rethink their ‘support’ for rightwing newspapers over what it sees as misleading headlines about child refugees, and the recent ruling by High Court judges that Parliament must be consulted before Article 50 is triggered.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: "Stop Funding Hate welcomes the decision from Lego. We are asking brands to listen to their customers when they tell them they want to stop funding hate, and that is what they've done. "

"People are becoming more aware that the money they spend could end up supporting publications whose stories, language or portrayal of certain people, fuels division. This urgently needs to addressed. These headlines harm people."

Lego is the first big company to agree to the campaigners’ demands.

The Co-Op Group has said it is ‘reviewing’ its advertising but other companies have, until now, refused to withdraw their adverts.

John Lewis, another key target of the campaign said: “We fully appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue but we never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper.”

Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are also being urged to drop their Christmas advertising in certain tabloids.

Lego spokesperson Roar Rude Trangbaek told The Independent: "We spend a lot of time listening to what children have to say. And when parents and grandparents take the time to let us know how they feel, we always listen just as carefully.

"We are both humbled and honoured to see how much consumers all over the world express their care for our company and our brand. And we will continuously do our very best to live up to the trust and faith that people all around the world show us every day.

"The agreement with The Daily Mail has finished and we have no plans to run any promotional activity with the newspaper in the foreseeable future."

The announcement was welcomed by BBC presenter Gary Lineker, who has backed the Stop the Hate campaign and today announced he had spoken to Walkers, whose crisps he promotes, about withdrawing their adverts from the Sun.

A Daily Mail spokesman said: "Our agreement with Lego has finished and we have no plans to run any promotional activity with Lego in the foreseeable future."

The original agreement had been for a promotional campaign of free giveaways rather than an advert, he added.

It comes a week after a British father’s letter to Lego regarding their links with the Daily Mail went viral.

Bob Jones, who said his six-year-old son ‘loves’ Lego, wrote an open letter to the company after the Daily Mail ran a controversial front page calling the High Court judges who ruled Parliament must be given a say on Brexit “enemies of the country”.

He wrote: "I love Lego. My 6 year old son loves Lego. He inherited all of mine three years ago and his collection has multiplied many times since...It seems you can do no wrong.

"But I'm concerned. For a few years now you have done free giveaways in the Daily Mail newspaper... But I'm afraid to say I can no longer do it."

Mr Jones said the paper's recent headlines had gone too far and did “nothing but create distrust of foreigners, blame immigrants for everything, and as of yesterday are now having a go at top judges in the UK for being gay while making a legal judgment.”

He added: “Lego, to me has always been an inclusive product. Breaking barriers between gender, building children's imagination and confidence to do their own thing. Something adults and children can and do, bond over.

“Your links to the Daily Mail are wrong. And a company like yours shouldn't be supporting them. And as crap as I feel telling my son he can't have the free Lego kit that he sees on the front of the paper in the store, I have explained to him that the paper it is attached to is the sort of paper that tells lies about people, like some of his friends from school. Even my six-year-old understands that what they print is wrong.”

The Daily Mail front page prompted widespread outrage

The Stop Funding Hate campaign was founded in August following what it said was “hatred, discrimination and demonisation” being promoted by some newspapers.

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