Another week, another massive brand taking the piss. The story is this: earlier this week Spice Girl Mel B made an Instagram post reading, “CAN THE CEO OF @tescofood DAVE LEWIS PLEASE CONTACT ME URGENTLY. Thank you,” alongside a picture of a recent advertising campaign for the supermarket featuring her image.Initially, this read sort of like when your mum thinks that in order to speak to someone directly on Facebook, she needs to post a status, which then leads to her confusedly texting you things like, “I have sent a Message to Bill and he is ignoring Xx” or “Have I done this right ??” At the same time, however, the alarm inherent in her message made lots of people #online speculate that the supermarket giant had used the photo – of Mel B in the Spice Girls in the 1990s – without permission.
The plot, however, thickened. It turned out that Mel B had agreed to the supermarket using her image in its ads, as long as it helped to promote Women’s Aid, a charity that works to end domestic violence against women and children. Mel B, who is a domestic abuse survivor, had said she was happy to be involved in the Tesco campaign “to raise awareness and to raise funds” for Women’s Aid, but somewhere along the line, the supermarket seems to have relegated the charity to the small print. Which is! A bit! Of a pisstake if you ask me!
In her very good-natured Instagram post clarifying the situation, Mel B stated that, “There was a miscommunication between some of the parties dealing with it but luckily Tesco has been amazing.” And yes, perhaps there were some crossed wires – I’m sure there are loads of people involved in an ad campaign for the UK’s largest supermarket chain – but it does seem fairly fundamental that if someone has agreed to be involved on a particular condition (let alone that condition being a charitable one), then it should probably be honoured! And that perhaps the advert should not instead be centred on Tesco’s low low prices by way of a pun based on the person’s 20-year-old song lyrics! Just some ideas x
I KNOW EVERY TIME I DO THIS COLUMN I’M LIKE, ‘THIS IS EGREGIOUS’ BUT TO BE HONEST, THIS ACTUALLY IS REALLY EGREGIOUS
Besides, aren’t brands meant to be Sensitive and Aware these days? Surely Tesco, if they were doing this right within the current, admittedly hellish, climate, would put the fact that Tesco X Mel B was a charity collab front and centre. This is because ‘social consciousness,’ while also obviously being good in and of itself, is also good from the cynical brand perspective, because it’s very en vogue and demonstrates to consumers that you are one of the slightly less bloodsucking brands (whether truthfully or not). Also to reiterate it’s TESCO, one of the largest businesses in the UK, which is often running multiple campaigns at once, meaning that it would be quite easy for them to reference Women’s Aid in one ad from one campaign, I would just conjecture!!!! But perhaps as I am not an advertising expert I am simply naïve!!!! This one has really wound me up!!!!
IN AN ERA WHERE BRANDS WANT TO BE OUR FRIENDS, DOES IT EVEN MAKE SENSE TO MINIMISE THE FACT THAT YOU, A BRAND, ARE DOING A CHARITY COLLABORATION?
MEL B WHAT A LEGEND TBH
If I were Mel B, I would have gone absolutely batshit about this. It’s extremely cheeky even if it was an honest mistake, especially when, as literal Mel B, iconic Spice Girl and single-handed bringer of leopard print into the legitimate fashion zeitgeist, she very much doesn’t need to be involved with these ads, or indeed Tesco. Instead, however, she took the classy route and thanked Tesco for their understanding, publicising the fact that they’d be matching her fee for the ad in a separate donation to Women’s Aid. In her Instagram post she wrote, “Women’s Aid sadly lost funding a few weeks ago which was why I decided to do this campaign. I’m really pleased that Tesco understands how important Women’s Aid is to me, and has agreed to match my fee in donation to the charity. This money is a game-changer for them. It will keep their live chat line running for the next six months and all over Christmas. This service literally saves lives.”This, added to the facts that Mel B is responsible for the “YOOOO” at the start of “Wannabe,” and gave The X Factor one of its greatest ever seasons in 2014, cements the fact that she is quite clearly a legend of the highest order.Honourable mention: This fucking cat who "will not be contained" and as a result got put in solitary for letting other cats out of their allotted room. Solidarity to an incarcerated comrade. #FreeHim.