Was Paperchase right to stop advertising in the Daily Mail after backlash from campaigners?
Sarah May, founder of Heritage for Transformation, says YES.
Since the 1920s, newspapers have relied on advertising revenue over circulation in their business models. The transition to digital has only strengthened this. So a primary purpose of newspapers is to promote the brands that advertise in them.
Healthy circulation figures, such as those of the Daily Mail, may be enticing, but advertising is more than informing people about your products. Brands rely on promotions to communicate their values, so the values of the paper have to match. Advertisers call the shots.
The Daily Mail has the oldest demographic in the UK. Paperchase is a brand with a young and positive feel. The Daily Mail regularly publishes toxic, inflammatory articles out of keeping with Paperchase’s brand values. The reaction from customers showed the mismatch, so Paperchase protected its brand from negative association. Other brands will follow suit.
Journalism business models are fragile. If the Daily Mail wants to be funded by respectable brands, it needs to publish respectable journalism.
James Delingpole, columnist at The Spectator and Breitbart News, says NO.
I’m surprised this is even a topic for debate in any newspaper that isn’t the Guardian, the Independent, or the Socialist Worker. Capitalism is about selling stuff to people that want stuff – and profiting thereby. If you’re suddenly going to decide for the most random of reasons to diss and reject a good half of your potential market, you simply don’t deserve to be in the game.
Yet that is what Paperchase has just done. By caving to Stop Funding Hate, it has effectively endorsed this ugly pressure group’s hard-left, anti-free-speech, anti-market philosophy.
Worse, it has sent a clear signal to the millions of ordinary, perfectly decent people who enjoy reading the Daily Mail and agree with its politics: “sorry, we find you an embarrassment”.
Well, this backfired horribly in the US recently for the coffee machine maker Keurig. I hope that Paperchase is about to learn the same harsh lesson.
The business of business is business. Social Justice Warrior politics can stay in the subsidised student bar.