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Thu May 21, 2020, 08:23 AM

Guardian - Coronawashing The Latest Manifestation Of The Cancer That Is Corporate PR


More than that, these are often businesses that helped create and profit from the weakened public services and diminished standards of living that the outbreak of Covid-19 has served to expose, and which have hampered the UK’s response. These feelgood pieces of PR, then, are exercises not just in making it look like corporations are fighting the crisis, but that they also are definitely not culpable in having helped worsen it. We have become used to sportswashing, greenwashing, pinkwashing and even wokewashing. We are now in the first wave of coronawashing, in which corporations trip over themselves to clap for key workers, before packaging the footage up into moving nuggets of shareable content and promoting them on several social media platforms. In the background, these same companies are asking for government bailouts and taking advantage of a crisis to push for favourable legislation and the slashing of regulations that are more necessary than ever.

And so we have Holly Branson, doing her best Ivanka Trump, tweeting about Virgin ventilator design while her father, Richard, lord of the boomers, moves on from taking legal action against the NHS to pleading for government money. Then we have HSBC, which, among much else, has been heavily fined in the US for facilitating tax evasion and money laundering and was found to have “helped clients dodge millions in tax”. The banking giant is now showing its caring side by filling newspaper advertising pages with messages of support in this time of crisis. Yet at the same time it has decided, at Ramadan, to block donations to a Palestinian aid charity.

Meanwhile, on YouTube, in a video entitled Thank You For Not Riding, plaintive piano lines soundtrack footage of ordinary people in their homes during pandemic. It’s not until you get to the end of this moving tribute to the common man that you realise it was made by Uber, a company with a litany of questionable work practices, which is now using coronavirus sick-leave measures to argue against giving its drivers employee status.

Examples of coronawashing are everywhere. Amazon, the selfless buddy who does a favour for you behind the scenes and then tells you and all your mutual friends about it, was recently “revealed” as a “mystery £250,000 donor to UK bookshops”. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos makesmore than $8m every single day. His company has been deemed “worst” for aggressive tax avoidance and has long been widely blamed for the destruction of the very independent bookshops it is now so generously and mysteriously donating to.



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Reply Guardian - Coronawashing The Latest Manifestation Of The Cancer That Is Corporate PR (Original post)
hatrack Thursday OP
sop Thursday #1
Laelth Thursday #2

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 09:12 AM

1. In a previous life I worked for a mega corporation as a litigation manager. They would routinely

do these bullshit customer satisfaction surveys, puportedly to improve the way we dealt with customers. During one of the regular meetings to discuss the dismal responses to our latest survey, one of the company's PR hacks asked for suggestions about changing the public's rather negative opinion, and several of us offered a few practical solutions.

The general concensus in the room seemed to be: stop treating people so shoddily and putting profit before all else, and the complaints would likely stop. The senior manager in charge of the meeting looked around, laughed, shook his head and said, "look guys, we're not going to change how we do business, we just want to figure out how to change the public's perception of how we do business."

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Response to sop (Reply #1)

Thu May 21, 2020, 10:35 AM

2. Truth. n/t


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