On eating it, I glanced at the packaging to see the declaration above—that Ginsters had donated the side of the pack to a charity. I turned the packaging over, and, as they claim, there was information about the Royal Voluntary Service.
This struck me as somewhat insidious because of how this supposed act of corporate social responsibility was being turned into a marketing opportunity. In my opinion, the fact that Ginsters have felt it necessary to so prominently proclaim their act of altruism defeats any good will the act itself might bring to the company. To think that Ginsters’ marketing department didn’t realised this potential reaction might happen—that no one who see through this forced ‘look at us, aren’t we wonderful’ approach—is incredulous. The contempt for the consumer is further compounded by the additional emotional blackmail of the question “what could you give?”. Coming after the statement about their ‘donation’, (as if it really cost Ginsters anything other than a couple hours of a graphic designer’s time), is insulting as it suggests that the company believe they have done their bit and now the responsibility lies with the consumer.
Corporate social responsibility is an important issue in contemporary business practice. But if companies like Ginsters want us to believe that they are genuine in their commitment to the voluntary sector, then they need to stop patronising consumers and use their involvement in social issues for more than a marketing opportunity.
It was nearly enough to put me off a sandwich I wasn’t particularly enjoying.