Perrier 2000 judge
supports the corporate-free Tap Water Award at the Edinburgh Fringe
August 2001 - photo opportunity
Perrier Comedy Award
boycott comes to a head this weekend as the Edinburgh Festival
draws to an end. Various activities have been arranged to
raise awareness of Nestle's (Perrier's parent company) marketing
malpractice of breastmilk substitutes.
alternative to the Perrier Comedy Awards, the Tap Water
Awards, were organised by Out of the Blue and held
at the Bongo Club on Thursday 23th August from 10.30pm.
Because these Awards began quite spontaneously for this,
the first year, it was not possible to organise a proper
judging panel to review all the acts. Over one hundred acts
entered. All entrants joining the Perrier Boycott were given
a plug (and a chain).
The format of
the awards in future will be decided in the coming year.
Emma Thompson has offered to present the prizes next time.
proudly show off their prize as entrants to the corporate-free
Tap Water Awards.
- first appeared in the Edinburgh
Evening News 23/08/01. Copyright exists on this cartoon
- please contact us
if you would like to reproduce it.)
Mark Wilson (Deputy
Arts Editor - The Independent) who was on the panel for
the Perrier Awards in 2000.
Mark Wilson said:
that the Tap Water Awards provide a vibrant alternative to the
more commercial aims of the Perrier Prize. They are nurturing
comedy talent for the future in a less competitive format, as
well as drawing attention to important issues of globalisation
and consumer choice."
The Perrier Awards
are announced on Saturday 25th at midnight at Potter Row. On Sunday
26th and Monday 27th The Perrier Pick of the Fringe shows take
place at the Assembly rooms. It is expected that boycott supporters
will make a light-hearted appearance at these events providing
a photo opportunity.
UNICEF estimate that
reversing the decline in breastfeeding could save 1.5 million
lives every year. Where water is unsafe an artificially fed child
is up to 25 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than a breastfed
child. The aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes by companies
such as Nestle is contributing to this unnecessary death and suffering.
It was for this reason that the comedian Rob Newman first called
on other comedians at this years Edinburgh Festival to boycott
the Perrier Awards. Various other comedians and celebrities have
also added their voices to the calls to boycott the Awards including
Emma Thompson, Julie Christie and Victoria Wood.
Jonathan Dorsett, Campaigns
Officer at Baby Milk Action, said:
"Those who have
boycotted the Perrier Awards have really helped to raise awareness
about Nestle's malpractice, and have helped to put Nestle under
pressure to change. This must indicate to Nestle the strong
feeling there is amongst the public that it needs to bring its
activities into line with international legislation."
Patti Rundall OBE,
Policy Director at Baby Milk Action, added:
"We must not
forget that companies have a clear commercial agenda - and receive
huge financial advantages from sponsoring cultural, educational
and sporting events - compared to direct TV advertising for
example - the costs are much lower. It is not altruism. Sometimes
the sponsor gives just a top-up grant - yet its name appears
everywhere. Companies use the benefits of the image enhancement
in many ways, most worryingly in political arenas in order to
get the legislation they want. Often their objectives - as in
the case of Nestle - are in direct conflict with the health
and welfare of society generally.
Council refused Nestle sponsorship recently and has now
drawn up strict guidelines which should ensure that they do
not allow any company with a bad ethical record to sponsor them.
They do not want to be drawn into a web of cause related marketing
covering up unethical practices. It would be good if everyone
adopted similar guidelines so that this type of problem is avoided."
For more information
contact Baby Milk
Action, 23 St Andrews Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX,
Tel: +44 1223 464420, Fax: +44 1223 464417.
For information on
the Tap Water Award contact Suzanne
Merrall - 0131 556 5204.
Some reports on
Milk Action press release - 15 August 2001: African health campaigners
welcome boycott of Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe
Scotsman - 21 August 2001: Comedian Thomas joins call for the
Times - 12 August 2001: Hey, heard the one about the ethical comedian?
Telegraph - 6 August 2001: Stars boycott Fringe awards for comedy
Yahoo - 6 August 2001: Campaigners
call for Perrier Award boycott
- 31 July 2001: Actress joins call for Perrier boycott
Independent - 24 July 2001: Comedian calls for a boycott on Perrier
Awards and 'corporate power'
Scotsman - 24 July 2001: Comic battles to gag milk powder sponsor
- 24 July 2001: Comedian calls for prize boycott
Notes for editors:
For news of other
celebrity endorsers see Boycott News 29.
Baby Milk Action
is a non-profit organisation which aims to save infant lives
and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate
infant feeding. Baby Milk Action works within the International
Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)
- a coalition of more than 150 citizen and health worker groups
in more than 90 countries around the world. IBFAN works for
better child health and nutrition through the promotion of
breastfeeding and the elimination of irresponsible marketing
of infants foods, bottles and teats. Some news reports incorrectly
suggest that Baby Milk Action is campaigning for a ban on
infant formula marketing. In reality, Baby Milk Action is
campaigning for companies to market their baby foods in accordance
with the requirements adopted by the World Health Assembly.
The WHO International
Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes was adopted
by the World Health Assembly in 1981. Subsequent Resolutions
have clarified interpretation and addressed changes in marketing
practices and scientific knowledge.
The latest IBFAN
report - Breaking the Rules
2001 - was launched in May this year at the World Health
Assembly to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the adoption
of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
The report cites Code violations by artificial baby milk companies,
including promotion via the Internet. (The report can be purchased
from Baby Milk Action's Virtual Shop).
assurances about its marketing practices do not stand up to
scrutiny. In May 1999 the UK Advertising Standards Authority
(ASA) upheld all of Baby Milk Action's complaints about an
anti-boycott advertisement in which Nestlé claimed
to market infant formula 'ethically and responsibly'. The
two-year investigation was one of the longest in the ASA's
history (see report in Boycott
In November 2000
Nestlé was the first company called to give evidence
to the European Parliament Public Hearings on corporate responsibility.
Nestlé refused to attend (see report in Boycott News 29).
- Baby Milk Action
has produced an education pack called Seeing
through the Spin, which is designed for teachers and educators
to help students recognise and deconstruct public relations