The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Is This A Weapon Of Mass [Social] Destruction?
April 3, 2007, 10:19 am
Filed under: Comment

Cadie's Piggy Bank

So alot of British banks are banning ‘Piggy Banks’ because they fear it may offend Muslims. 

Halifax and NatWest led the move and it is expected – as is the habit in this industry – to be followed by the rest of the major banks soon.

Whilst I appreciate that in times of tension, you have to be especially careful and considerate to the wider community – I do think this may be going abit [or should I say, alot] over the top.

Of course if it was found that ‘piggy banks’ truly offended the Muslim community on mass, then I would wholeheartedly back their withdrawal… however this does not seem to be the case, infact Khalid Mahmoud, a Labour MP for Birmingham said …

“We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another. I doubt Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks.”

To me, this is another great example of how corporate ego and lack of consumer understanding are affecting the World we live in.

Rather than focus on areas that the mass of consumers find really offensive – like service standards, value and responsibility – companies are focusing their attention on what they deem ‘subliminal customer alienation’ because …

1 They can kid themselves that in every other area, they are doing a good job.

2 They believe this sort of action demonstrates they’re a good corporate citizen regardless of the fact they happily encourage outrageous spending through their credit card programs.

3 Subliminal Customer Alienation it is about ‘stopping stuff’ [ie: saving money] rather than actually ‘doing stuff’ [which costs money]

Hence we have organisations employing people to remove any [self] perceived obstacle from the ‘buying equation’ … marching us towards a World of bland uniformity and mediocrity … rationalised to the stockmarket [and shareholders] as ensuring the company never alienates a potential customer which inturn, helps guarantee the continued delivery of outrageous profit.

Hell, why stop at piggy banks? 

What about Christmas Tree’s, Easter Eggs, Blackboards … or even sausages in the company canteen????

As I said, if piggy banks [or anything else for that matter] really caused mass offence, then they should be committed to the past immediately – however I can’t help but that in this matter, it’s the kids who are being alienated – because they’ve suddenly been dragged into the madness and prejudices of the adult [corporate] World and told something they viewed with absolute innocence, has a more sinister meaning. 

If the World is going to be able to move to a happier, brighter place, then we’re going to have to understand, celebrate and embrace our differences … not hide from them … but I guess that’s about as idealistic as you can get, especially if the way mainstream corporations behave has anything to do with it.


43 Comments

If companies stopped running scared, not only would they be more favored by the public, but their profits would increase.

Look at Tesco, their actions towards consumer and cultural contentment (from promoting healthier food for children through to advocating less use of plastic bags) has made them more loved and liked than the UK Government.

It’s all about vision and while many companies talk about it, very few have it or practice it.

Comment by Pete

You are so right Pete and it’s funny you talk about vision as I met an agency CEO yesterday who said ‘vision is not important as all it tends to be is a post rationalised encapsulation of what made a company successful’.

Whilst I appreciate vision can be ego-bollocks, in the right hands, it is the foundation of how a company behaves and grows – resulting in more than just a profitable business, but a business that infiltrates society as Tescos [to me, the most creative company in the World] continually demonstrates.

Vision screws up when you don’t do anything with it … abit like the people I talked about with Rob M … the ‘futurists’ that actually don’t do anything about getting there, they just talk about what it could be.

Comment by Rob

Yes, vision is absolutely critical. Where else can one draw motivtion from to actually make things happen?

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I think this shows more of a lack of understanding than leaving the pigs in place could ever do.

Doing this implies that they think Muslims are reactionary and overly offended; which is FAR more insulting than leaving a ceramic animal they dont like in place.

The annoying thing is that generally these changes are blamed on liberals being politically correct when in actual fact most of these changes have far more to do with board members and hyperactive laywers/councils.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re so right Rob … so right … and it’s a very good point that their actions [driven by board member ignorance, lawyers and the odd blinkered-liberal] demonstrate an even more insulting view of the Muslim community – that of being always reactionary to what they disagree with.

Comment by Rob

Exactly. They might as well say they are making the changes so they dont get bombed… its that stupid most of the time.

I have never met a single Muslim who was offended by piggy banks, or Christmas, or Easter. What they ARE offended by is ignorant people who make stupid generalisations or think of them as stereotypes.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

while we’re assuming that muslims are reactionary, we can also remove any pork products from tesco’s shelves, close pubs and venues during ramadan – hell, in fact close any food outlet down during daylight in the month of october because the qur’an suggests that muslims fast therefore they must be offended when everyone else isn’t.. and just to be on the safe side, close down all butchers that don’t slaughter their meat according to halal protocol. that will make everyone feel comfortable and satisfied that they’re culturally aware…

Comment by lauren

And will of course make people think badly of Muslims, even when they arent the ones who have asked for these changes!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Everyone looks for a scape goat for their own prejudices and shortcomings … it’s human nature.

Comment by Rob

Yep. For the Nazi’s it was the jews, and for many Westerners its Muslims.

Why cant we all just get along?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

For all Singapore’s shortcomings, they have a much greater understanding and tolerance of different religious beliefs – right down to the Government giving each religion 2 pulblic holidays a year.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, they are a good example of how we should accomodate various cultures; not by neutralising each others traditions and ideas to fit in to some distorted idea of offensiveness.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just like most things in Singapore, the Government ORDER people to act a certain way – even though they pretend they have the right to disagree, haha

Comment by Rob

Better the devil you know…

I think id almost rather that than our current government or the US’s!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Pigs are offensive to Jewish people too!

Comment by Stan Lee

Let me second that Singapore comment. The island state really is a world class example of multicultural/ethnic living. I never felt more happier, in a global citizen kind of way than wandering around the HDB’s mingling with ordinary folk with all the varieties of food on display, and the remarkably high level of social cohesion (missing hugely in the UK and U.S right now – wonder why!).

However according to all the demographic trends the Islamic religion will be the dominant religion in the not too distant future. Developed economies are slowing down in their birth rates. I believe Germany is predicted to be largely Muslim by 2050. http://preview.tinyurl.com/y6s5gw

Where do the cultural compromises end? I don’t know. Personally I’m standing by my bacon sandwich with brown sauce on a freshly cut farmhouse country loaf till the bitter end but as for the piggy bank? Well, bank merchandise isn’t high up my list of priorities and even the PDR China banned pig images on State TV for the Chinese year of the porkster. Ah well, just my tuppence worth. Good post though. Lot’s to think about.

Comment by charlesfrith

Yes they are Stan … hense my little joke about banning sausages from the bank canteen.

I remember years ago, Jaguar Cars were going on about how difficult it was to send out Christmas Cards because they didn’t want to alienate their Jewish customer base nor upset their traditional market.

As a joke I said they should invite all their customers to a BBQ and those who didn’t want a sausage sandwich could be sent a ‘HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON’ card instead.

They didn’t find it funny. Oh dear.

Comment by Robert

Ouch…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hi Charles … good points well made.

Personally I think one of the key issues is that most problems relating to social misunderstanding, upset or anger is convieniently labeled a ‘cultural issue’ by the people in power/ignorance and then jumped on by a small group of individuals who ‘like/can benefit’ from the idea of cultural division.

The problem with all this is that in reality, most of the problems [not all] have little to do with ‘cultural differences’ and more to do with the huge social injustices seen in minority groups living in different countries.

Even Singapore treats ‘working immigrants’ [ie: unless they are Western] with lower standards than nationals … and whilst the country hasn’t [and won’t] seen public dissent like in the UK, Holland, Germany and France … the resentment is there and starting to take hold. [Contrary to what many outsiders think, Asia is a cauldron of prejudice – often based on events that happened thousands of years ago!]

At the heart of the problems is the simple desire to be treated ‘fairly’ and ‘equally’ … I wonder what it will take before people finally get the message.

Comment by Robert

Most of the problems in the world are based on events from hundreds and thousands of years ago… except where caused by America.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

May I just point out that I am in Stansted airport. THIS is a problem. STANSTED is a problem.

I’m coming home people. Back in action tomorrow.

Comment by Marcus

He’s back … he’s coming back … praise the Lord, or at least British Airways [acknowledging he’s more likely to be flying with a Kraut company as he was in the UK on business!]

Comment by Rob

It was fucking easyjet. EASYJET!

Comment by Marcus Brown

if easyjet is anything like jetstar, marcus, commiserations.

Comment by lauren

Lauren, believe me, nothing is like Easy Jet

Comment by Marcus Brown

Flown easy jet once (well, there and back…).

Delayed, delayed, reasonable flight…
…delayed, delayed, reasonable flight.

Still, better than when I flew with Air Europa.

VA or BA for me when I can.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh God … Easyjet – you poor bugger. It’s always sad when an airline makes more entertaining fly-on-the-wall television, than actual flying experience. My tears are with you!

Comment by Rob

back now though. I’m gonna rant them later to night.

Comment by Marcus Brown

YAY

Comment by Rob

I swear to God, I nearly lost it in Standsted yesterday. I HATE EASY JET.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I am sooooo excited!

Comment by Rob

marcus – if a twitter of ‘standsted is an armpit’ is nearly losing it, i’d like to see it when you really do lose it! ha!

Comment by lauren

Lauren – you have no idea. I wrote that before it all started. I’m still LIVID nearly 24 hours later.

Comment by Marcus Brown

mwahahaha… marcus brown channelling the spirit of robert campbell.. i’m certainly looking forward to it.

Comment by lauren

I’ll give you a clue. It has somthing to do with a queue, shoes and a sign that says “if you’re late – we don’t wait”.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Is this like blog charades???

Comment by Rob

yes.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Rob did you get my mail?

Comment by Marcus Brown

Haven’t checked, it’s been a long day with our ‘secret pitch’ … will check and ‘ave a read!

Comment by Rob

Marcus, I hope this rant will be blogged about!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Mr M. it will be another Jerry Maguire piece I fear.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Then go Jerry go.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just seen the email – yeah, I knew – trying to help him out by connecting him up with a few bods. Poor bugger – but that’s the fickle nature of adland. When they understand loyalty to people, maybe people will be more loyal to adland.

Comment by Rob




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