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When companies refuse to cave in

I am often disappointed when a company apologises or pulls an ad campaign after receiving complaints. Paul Marks recently called this “corporate cowardice”. According to Martin Daubney on Breitbart London, things might be about to change. Fighting back against such criticism seems to be good for business. This story has everything: capitalism, SJW-trolling and even girls in bikinis. Via Eric Raymond’s Google Plus feed.

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34 comments to When companies refuse to cave in

  • Laird

    Good article. More companies, and people in general, need to push back against these sorts of ridiculous attacks. People are far too quick to apologize these days, even when they’ve done nothing wrong.

  • Watchman

    Logically this is hardly a shock – vocal minority do not have the power to constrain the majority, but being vocal do have the power to promote things…

    But nice to see what might be a logical thought exercise can be proved by the real world. Interesting question would be whether there is anything the screaming loonies of the boycott brigade would protest about that might actually be a valid complaint…

  • Fraser Orr

    I was actually thinking about this general area earlier this week when the taxi drivers in France did what they did. My thought was that the French government’s reaction was not to crack down on the thugs and bullies, rather it was to do what the thugs and bullies demanded by cracking down on Uber drivers and users.

    Where, I thought, were all the Uber drivers and users demanding that the French transport system get with the program? There are way more people who want the Taxi cartel broken (or in less political terms love Uber and want to use it.)

    Although I wouldn’t advocate it, there would be a certain schadenfreude should we see Uber drivers and Uber users cracking a few French taxi windows in protest to their regulatory capture and their desire to make everyone pay way more for taxi cabs.

  • Greytop

    While we are ‘educated’ to jump when someone shouts loudly, the correct response is often the polite “Anyone for coffee?”

    Many years ago someone told me — I have no idea if this is true as I do not drink ‘real ale’ — that a small group of moaners got breweries to jump a lot over their professed idealised beverage and thus changed the face of the booze industry. Again, the correct response would have been along the lines of “You don’t want to drink our ale? Okay, fine, but plenty of people do so you can go away.”

    *waits for inevitable outpouring of outrage and anger from real ale drinkers*

  • llamas

    @ Greytop – I was there, and it wasn’t like that at all. At All.

    The big breweries took not one damned bit of notice of those campaigning for ‘real ale’ – they could sell all of the Watney’s Red Barrel and Carling Black Label they could make. Still can, if it comes to that.

    What changed their attitude was not ‘moaners’, but ‘doers’ – I used to lift a lunchtime pint at the original Goose and Firkin on the Borough High Street, just across from the Borough Mechanic’s Institute, and it was independent brewers like David Bruce, who catered to those seeking ‘real ale’, that made the big brewers sit up and take notice. Not complaining, but competition. The Firkin Brewery, and a hundred more like it, grew so big, so fast, that Watneys and Courage and all the rest, had to respond or lose significant market share.

    llater,

    llamas (hic).

  • Mr Ed

    CAMRA, (the Campaign for Real Ale) a rather mixed organisation. I have (unfair) images of Lefty hippies at Folk Festivals dipping their beards in frothy heads of warm, slightly sour bitter, ranting about ‘big business’ dominating the industry and having the temerity to run their own property empires as they see fit.

    However, I digress, one of their campaigns, apart from laudable campaigns against Beer and Cider taxes, is to have pubs listed by the local authority as ‘assets of community value’. I find that sinister, bureaucratic, and (unintentionally) fascist with a local authority deciding what a private asset may be used for (more than they do already).

    I wonder if, were CAMRA to establish in Germany, they would be called “Reinheitsgebotkämpfer” (Purity Law Strugglers) with all the dire earnestness that name might suggest.

    Nowhere can I find CAMRA extolling the following ideas: “P*** off and let us drink beer in peace, spending our money providing jobs in brewing, agriculture, hospitality, catering and living free, happy lives away from government agitprop.”. They look like any other pressure group, probably hiring the same old hacks. Soon, they will probably face an Equality and Human Rights Commission enquiry for not having enough of a certain religious group in their membership, and I fear that the hacks that run it would self-flagellate in contrition. I note that they have an equal opps monitoring form for job applicants on their website.

    I have launched a long, tireless, fanatical campaign for real ale, it’s called buying it, and then drinking it. It is up to those who sell it to me to make it profitable. I do my bit.

  • There are way more people who want the Taxi cartel broken (or in less political terms love Uber and want to use it.)

    Not so sure about that Fraser, at least not in France: I am told that this survey says otherwise (I don’t read French, so I am more than willing to be corrected – plus, surveys being what they are and all that).

  • Mr Ed

    Alisa,

    At present, 56.1% are not in solidarity with the strikers, 11% don’t know, 32.9% are in solidarity (i.e. 32.9% agree with them).

    The taxis drivers guild (union?) calls for the seizure of cars of Uber drivers, and the president of the National Assembly wants the app to be banned permanently. A law is being drafted to ban putting the public in contact with drivers, the penalty up to 2 years in prison and a fine of €30,000. The taxi drivers are on unlimited strike, and are disrupting traffic in large cities throughout France. The government seems to be enraged at Uber, not violence and threats.

    Well if Greece default, that should take around €21,000,000,000 off the French state, go ahead Alexis, make my day.

  • Thanks, Ed – so it’s not as bad as I was led to think. Still, plenty bad. Oh well.

  • Rob Fisher

    Ah, Uber, is there nothing they can’t do?

    https://plus.google.com/+EricRaymond/posts/1jAUv9s8axt

  • thefrollickingmole

    Nowhere can I find CAMRA extolling the following ideas: “P*** off and let us drink beer in peace, spending our money providing jobs in brewing, agriculture, hospitality, catering and living free, happy lives away from government agitprop.”

    The little bar at the minsite I live on is a testament to the nanny state.
    Scratching my head and thinking there are at least 9 “dont do that” government signs (manditory) plastered over a bar and room not much bigger than a large family room.
    Shits me to tears.

    Oh off topic but probably of some interest to people here one of our states just tried to bring nanny statism to the lawless, it hasnt gone spectacularly well.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-30/victorian-prison-system-ready-for-smoking-ban-jan-shuard-says/6583246
    WERE READY@!!!!

    OH CRAP!!!
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-01/riot-at-melbourne-remand-centre-over/6585456

    The riot is widely believed to have been sparked by the imposition of a smoking ban which came into effect today at the remand centre at Ravenhall, in Melbourne’s west.

  • Where, I thought, were all the Uber drivers and users demanding that the French transport system get with the program?

    On the Internet, screaming blue murder at the taxi drivers. I think going out and breaking a few taxis won’t be necessary: they’ll just keep using Uber. As of right now, despite the ban, it is still working in France.

  • Mr Ed

    When there’s an Uber service breaking the gondolier cartel in Venice, we will know that progress is being made.

  • Paul Marks

    The campaign against the “big brewers” led to them being stripped of their pubs (by the government and its courts).

    This led to no more relatively cheap beer in pubs (why support pubs you do not own?) and the closure of many pubs.

    I hope the campaigners are proud of themselves.

    It reminds me of the campaign against the “restrictive practices” of “the City” leading to the 1986 government action.

    The action that has massively HARMED private investors.

  • Paul Marks

    Still – back to the post.

    It is partly Corporate Cowardice.

    But it is also “internalising” the ideology of the left (via university education and so on).

    High managers sometimes really believe this stuff (at least partly).

    As for Corporate Cowardice.

    “If you pay Dangegelt you never get rid of the Dane”.

    Giving in to the Social Justice warriors does not work.

    They just come back and demand more – and more, and more.

    The objective of the Social Justice warriors is the total extermination of capitalism.

    One has to fight these people – appeasement does not work.

  • CAMRA is an utterly odious outfit who has in fact done more to destroy pub culture in the UK than anyone else. They are vermin whose actions have produced the diametric opposite of their ostensible goals.

  • Mr Ed

    Perry, you’ll get a sore butt sitting on the fence like that.

  • Thomas Fuller

    When I was about seven years old, I suddenly got the idea that “if you don’t care, they can’t get you.” (Probably in response to some threatened and wholly deserved parental punishment.)

    That philosophy has stood me very well since then, and I recommend it to anyone who is as bored as I am with these shrieking, ghastly, overgrown children of the Left.

  • llamas

    To extend my original comment, regarding ‘real ale’ – I was referring to events that took place on the 1970s. I’m quite happy to believe that CAMRA’s activities in the years since then (especially as they relate to attempts to disassemble the monopolies and ‘tied/managed house’ systems built up by large-brewery interests) have had the opposite effect to what was originally desired. But those systems really had little to do with the quality and range of beers – the big brewers responded to the public demand for ‘real ale’ by offering more and better products within the existing property/tenancy systems. CAMRA may indeed be a politically-odious outfit today, as our generous host says, but in the ’70s we were just looking for a good pint.

    But it’s always thus – an activist organization, which finds its original aims largely-fulfilled, either has to cast about for fresh fields to conquer, or wind itself up. My recollection of the ’80s and ’90s in the UK is that you could get pretty-good beer pretty-much anywhere if that was what you wanted. I suspect it’s more-likely that the craft-beer enthusiasts of the 1970s found themselves in power in the 1990s and beyond, and used their new-found power, in league with CAMRA, to disassemble what they saw as the politically (rather than commercially) unhealthy monopolies of the big brewery interests.

    YMMV.

    llater,

    llamas

  • I suspect it’s more-likely that the craft-beer enthusiasts of the 1970s found themselves in power in the 1990s and beyond, and used their new-found power, in league with CAMRA, to disassemble what they saw as the politically (rather than commercially) unhealthy monopolies of the big brewery interests.

    Indeed CAMRA had some justification for doing so, because Big Beer had shown its strength before in the 80’s where acquisitions left right and centre meant that local breweries and the small chain of local pubs they served were bought up and destroyed by Big Beer who then imposed their own mass produced Pißwasser on the locals.

    Thus the taming of Big Beer was seen as a necessity even though the damage had already been done. The destruction of tied pubs, which was meant to free the landlord actually broke the chain of support between the landlord and the brewing company.

    Where previously the pub had been the the primary outlet for the breweries and part of their operation (with prices adjusted accordingly), not they were just another distribution point in a logistics chain and squeezed for margin accordingly.

    CAMRA didn’t kill the pub businesses, but they were part of a long list of injuries, from beer taxes and Sunday trading to pub licensing and the smoking ban.

    None of these changes on its own would have done the damage that we see around us, it is the cumulative effect of all of them over 30-years that has done so.

  • Watchman

    This complaining about the death of pubs should not sit well here. If a pub offers a service people want, it will stay open. If not, it closes. As we do not generally drink like we used to do (I blame the increase of other leisure activities myself) then pubs will suffer, but generally those which offer a good service, be it cheap meals, quality beer or just something different from the others, will have the best chance of surviving.

    Tied houses were (and to a lesser extent, are) anti-competition, since they allowed a small number of producers to dominate the market (and indeed to run a price cartel, although that is probably not proven). They also held back the quality and variety of products supplied (markets are not just about producing cheap prices). They may have offered cheaper product, but offering this at the expense of consumer choice (and see the increased sales of say Belgian beer in bars to note that cheap is not always wanted) is hardly defensible. One interesting development I’ve seen in some areas is the number of pubs brewing their own or supporting small local breweries, which modern technology is apparently (someone could cofirm this for me – I only have the landlords’ words for it) making easier.

    None of which is to say that state interference (tax, licensing, smoking ban) is helpful to anything incidentally. But that should surprise nobody.

  • This complaining about the death of pubs should not sit well here.

    Perhaps, but this was more about the consequences of CAMRA destroying an industry it claimed to be saving via the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    Maybe trade liberalization would have destroyed the pub trade anyway, but probably not at the rate of destruction we have seen in recent years.

  • RRS

    Third party interventions in the markets?

  • Greytop

    Llamas: Thanks for your view but I did preface my remarks that I had been informed by someone who may — or may not — have drunk a lot of beer.

    I can also see I touched on a raw nerve here with my comment on what turned out to be CAMRA, a condition which drinkers seem to have aplenty. For reasons best known to those who do swallow and belch and vomit, criticism of beer and with it or beer drinkers, seems to be one of those ‘liberal’ areas that soon rattles a few cages.

    “I like beer, me” appears to be the default position and ends all arguments for or against. But let me nail my colours to the mast. Good ale, cheap beer, frothy piss in glasses with handles… it is all the same to me. I don’t drink and have no desire to, so I must confess I am largely indifferent to the real ale angst.

  • Bod

    It’s easy enough to replace beer with some kind of an ox you would care about, if it were gored.

    And when you identify that ox, consider llamas’ second paragraph, because it’s an (almost) universal truism. An organization *like* CAMRA will inevitably become a vehicle for its own survival, rather than announce “Mission Accomplished” and close its doors.

    Its primary mission is either superseded or completely replaced by a desire to survive. And usually, grow.

  • Fraser Orr

    >Bod
    > Its primary mission is either superseded or completely replaced by a desire to survive. And usually, grow.

    Yes, for example Oxfam was founded in 1942 to help relieve the famine in Greece caused by German occupation. Obviously that is ENTIRELY no long an issue so they should be disbanded.

    Oh, wait — Germany taking over Greece? Famine? Maybe they still do have a purpose…

  • Mr Ed

    How many U-boats did Poxfam sink to alleviate the threat of starvation in the UK?

    That would be…zero!

    Nowadays, the U-boats are the loans to Greece, lost in a vast ocean, impossible to find, on the register, but everyone knows that they won’t surface in daylight…

  • PeterT

    http://i.imgur.com/Z4mbo9q.jpg

    New one apparently. I certainly hope so. Hat tip mgtower, commenting on breitbart.

  • Phil B

    Bod,

    You are referring to Pournelles Iron Law of Bureaucracy which states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

    First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

    Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

    The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

    It’s a good yardstick to apply to any statement made by “The Great and Good”. Which group does the person setting forth his position belong to? Quite revealing …

  • Thailover

    On a related note, when car companies were being virtually forced to accept gov bailouts, Ford Motor Co refused and were market-penalized because of it. Today, in typical mealy-mouthed fashion from their PR people, they downplay their taking a stand, even pulling an ad with a man mentioning the event because, (as I undersand it) they were asked to pull it by the gov. But I respect them for their stand anyway.

  • Laird

    Thailover, I agree. When GM became Government Motors I vowed to never again buy one of their products, and I haven’t. I did recently purchase a Ford truck, however.

  • the other rob

    Bod is, of course, correct and Fraser Orr puts a very amusing spin on it.

    Thailover and Laird touch on a point that has long puzzled me. I simply can not understand why the Texas DPS persists in buying Government Motors vehicles, when Toyota builds vehicles right here in Texas.

  • […] direct them to their local lawmakers. If it happened it would be a fine example of a company refusing to cave in, but it is unlikely. According to The Verge, “Netflix says it’s already making arrangements […]