On Monday and Tuesday this week I published blogs here and here in follow up to my initial skepticism back in March upon the launch of the ThinkIrish.ie campaign.
My skepticism was due to the lack of information we were provided by the campaign on who was behind it, where the funding was coming from and what the ultimate tactics of the campaign would be. It all sounds similar to the questioning of other campaigns we’ve seen recently which haven’t actually turned out to be as they were initially portrayed in the opening press releases – see Ideas Campaign and Your Country, Your Call.
To clarify again, at no point have I argued with the aims of the campaign – though an examination of the numbers behind the prediction of +200,000 jobs if we start buying more Irish goods would be interesting – my desire here is purely for a closer examination of one of the many of the things we, as consumers, are expected to suck up automatically, and unquestioningly.
As a nation, we’re probably not used to that kind of closer examination because most of our Irish journalist types are unwilling to do it themselves. It’s much handier fill space by copying and pasting a press release rather than doing even a bit of simple investigation.
One of my questions yesterday (here) touched on something that interests me about the future of the ThinkIrish.ie campaign.
What consideration has been given to charge companies to be part of your product database – similar to Guaranteed Irish charging membership and for use of their logo?
This question, I think, will be key to this particular campaign. If they do begin to charge, then it becomes little more than the weak Guaranteed Irish scheme. But if they don’t charge, then the campaign is likely to continue to be low scale, low key. It’s a difficult bridge to cross.
I see already, though, that ThinkIrish.ie are asking that retailers make a “donation” in exchange for being allowed to use ThinkIrish.ie window stickers on their shop windows. Suggested minimum donation sizes range from €75 to €250 depending on the size of the store – more details on that here.
In my opinion, any organisation or campaign will always lose a level of credibility and trust when one starts to charge for services or accept payments from organisations who could be seen to have a vested interest in the success or failure of your campaign. The rule of “he who pays the piper, calls the tune” will always raise it’s head when one receives money when you’re trying to promote an agenda.
The credibility of Your Country, Your Call was damaged greatly because of their reluctance to clarify who made donations to their campaign, and how much.
It’s an eternal question in such campaigns – to charge or not to charge.