Pizza Hut has tweeted an apology after it was criticised for running a promotion in The Sun, in the latest instance of corporations reacting to a backlash on social media.
The food chain said on Twitter it was apologising for “any offence caused as a result of this partnership” after giving away a pizza with a purchase of the paper.
Stop Funding Hate raised concerns that Pizza Hut was running a promotion in The Sun – one of several British tabloids the campaign group is urging advertisers to sever ties with.
Want to collect a free #Pizza? Grab a copy of tomorrow’s @TheSun to find out how pic.twitter.com/li2OjLUF5H
Pizza Hut said on Sunday night that the “aim” of the offer “was simply to give our customers the chance to enjoy a free pizza to share with their family and friends”.
We apologise for any offence caused as a result of this partnership. The aim of this offer was simply to give our customers the chance to enjoy a free pizza to share with their family and friends.
December 2, 2017
At the weekend Stop Funding Hate urged “concerned” supporters to get in touch with Pizza Hut.
“Please leave a polite and friendly comment,” Stop Funding Hate wrote on Facebook in a post that’s had nearly 900 reactions.
Last month, Paperchase apologised after a weekend promotion by the stationery company in the Daily Mail sparked a similar response.
Paperchase issued a statement saying it had “listened” to customers and was “truly sorry”, adding: “We won’t ever do it again.”
Although Paperchase’s apology was widely shared on social media, Stop Funding Hate’s original post informing followers about the partnership only received about 550 reactions and was shared 94 times.
The campaign group claimed victory after the Paperchase response, and had highlighted Pizza Hut’s advertising in The Sun.
Stop Funding Hate said in a statement to HuffPost UK on Monday: “With growing concern that the hate in our media is fuelling hate crime on our streets, is it any wonder so many of us don’t want to subsidise this through our shopping?
“We’d urge the Sun to reflect on why so many feel attacked by its hostile coverage, and why brands might want to distance themselves.
“As always, we encourage everyone who supports Stop Funding Hate to keep it civil and polite – both towards brands and the media outlets we’re challenging.”
But on Monday, Pizza Hut was still named in Stop Funding Hate’s list of advertisers in The Sun.
Today’s Sun advertisers include @pizzahut @VodafoneUK @ClaimPensionDWP @DFS @LoveWilko @BootsUK @coopuk @PostOffice @Morrisons @volvocars @NOWTV @EE @CPWTweets #TheCoopWay — Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) December 4, 2017
The Sun has faced a boycott from a large number of people in Liverpool over its inflammatory coverage the Hillsborough disaster.
Hi @pizzahut. I see that you have been offering free pizza in an advert for The Sun. As a Liverpool fan I will no longer be using your establishment until you stop advertising with them, and I will be encouraging my friends and family to do the same. #TotalEclipseOfTheSun #LFC
December 2, 2017
Bad choice Pizza Hut! I wont buy from any organisation that works with The S*n remember this? #JFT96 pic.twitter.com/voym4c2e3r
I’ve suddenly lost my appetite actually @pizzahutuk. A poor decision. pic.twitter.com/EY20AeSpRp
Pizza Hut, you’ve just implied there’s something so distateful about the Sun, its employees, and its readers that you have to apologise for being seen with them. It’s almost as if you don’t want customers. https://t.co/fBe4sCa8oV
December 3, 2017
Grow a pair and man up @pizzahutdeliver. The Sun‘s circulation is 1.5 million and you’re being bullied by a few hundred twitter muppets. Get a grip. https://t.co/e3czN6T658 — Michael Heaver (@Michael_Heaver) December 3, 2017
HuffPost UK has contacted Pizza Hut and The Sun for comment.
Stop Funding Hate’s campaign has been trying to convince brands to pull their advertising from The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Express, saying the papers use “fear and division to sell more papers” and demonise groups such as refugees and migrants.
The Paperchase promotion offered Daily Mail readers two free rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, worth £4.75, from the store.
The Daily Mail accused Paperchase of allowing itself to be “bullied into apologising” and described Stop Funding Hate as “a small group of hard left Corbynist individuals seeking to suppress legitimate debate and impose their views on the media”.