Anti Page 3 campaigners turn attention to brands

First published in November 2012

The Sun

NEWS-BITE | PR | Protests: A group lobbying The Sun to axe its infamous Page 3 slot has turned its attention to some of the newspaper’s biggest advertisers, forcing brands like Tesco and Morrisons into the debate.

The No More Page 3 campaign isn’t campaigning for any change in the law regards the publication of Page 3-style photos, but is trying to persuade The Sun that the daily photo of a topless female model is a “sexist relic of an unhealthy 1970s culture”. Campaigners have got over 51,000 signatures on a petition aimed a The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan.

But with the newspaper so far resisting the pressure, campaigners have now written to Sun advertisers Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda asking them to boycott the tabloid until Page 3 is axed, and last weekend the campaign’s supporters handed out flyers at five supermarkets around the country.

The campaign’s founder Lucy-Anne Holmes told The Guardian: “Supermarkets are selling family values and yet they are advertising with a newspaper that encourages people to see women not as a human but as an object. We are calling for them to stop advertising with the Sun, to send out a really positive message that they value their female customers”.

It’s not the first time a group campaigning against a media organisation has targeted advertisers. It’s a practice that puts a lot of pressure on brands who would rather not get involved in social or political debates only indirectly linked to their businesses.

According to The Guardian, Sainsbury’s and Asda have declined meetings with campaigners to discuss the Page 3 issue, while Tesco and Morrisons are planning on meeting with Holmes and her colleagues, though the former insisted “it is not for us to comment on editorial decisions”.

The supermarkets are not the only brand targeted by the No More Page 3 campaign. Lego was criticised for running a front-page promotion with the tabloid, with Holmes saying: “What do children think if they open a newspaper because of this offer and see pictures of men doing things – running the country, succeeding in sport – and women naked apart from their knickers?”