Newest Review: ... as there were considerably less people about taking donations. It was a little more high profile this year, as quite a lot of famous p... more
Pants To Profits
Member Name: assethound
Date: 16/03/01, updated on 17/03/01 (371 review reads)
Advantages: Draws your attention to the problems
Disadvantages: Big companies get free publicity, and it salves your conscience until next year
Do you give a lot for Charideee?
Can you afford it?
If there is one thing that I cannot stand it is the thought of the grimace behind the strained smile as yet another coin tinkles into a bucket.
The worst thing about Comic Relief is not the abysmal hijacking of Friday night telly - often the only night there is anything good on - but the holiday camp mentality that goes with it.
Being forced to join in, whether it be a knobbly-knee contest or rummaging around in my pocket for the loose change I would rather spend on something else is a pain in the butt.
Several times when I have been walking around town, counting the pennies (my income is small and most of it goes to paying off the student debt mountain - but don't get me onto that one please) I have been accosted by well meaning people thrusting buckets and collecting tins at me.
How ethical is it to expect people already up to their eyeballs in debt - and hey, that is a lot of the population - to dig further into their pockets in the name of charity?
I once turned the tables on one of these seemingly well-meaning types when I was still a student.
"Actually" I said politely, "I am not going to be able to pay the rent this month, could you help me out?"
I was met with a dirty look and some language I am unable to repeat here.
Who actually benefits from Comic Relief?
Well with the Golden pound, unlike most charities, all the money raised does go to the causes that Comic Relief supports.
That just underlines for me the fact that some of the money scraped together by the poor for other charities goes to pay for the free ballpoint pens they send you in the all too frequent mailshots begging for donations.
Call me a killjoy, but if I give my all too meagre money to a charity I don't want it to be used to give somebody better off another pen for their growing collection.
r><br>So now we have established that some ballpopint tycoon somewhere is feathering his nest with the donations you make to other charities what about Comic Relief?
Well judging by my fairly typical reaction to some of the films shown on the 16th March this year as part of Comic Relief night, anyone who makes tissues, toilet paper or kitchen roll should be doing pretty well.
Comic Relief does raise awareness. The I'm alright Jack attitude maybe gets dislodged for a few hours, in between wondering if Billy Connelly will get asked to do the second series of Naked Jungle.
If that was all it did it wouldn't be doing so bad now, would it?
To date, as I sit here at 5am the morning after, swigging tea and wondering if those terrribly nice people from showbusiness would turn out for a 5.30am start on a Saturday morning for £4.50 an hour (wonderful thing to be paid more than the minimum wage isn't it), Comic Relief has broken its own records and raised £22,500,000 by 1.45am (17th March), more than nine million more than that time last year.
The plight of the Rwandan women and children, devastated by genocide, rape and AIDS will hopefully stay in people's minds until tomorrow lunchtime, and maybe some of them will have one less worry because of donations made by the public to Comic Relief.
But who else benefits from the Comic Relief juggernaut?
In fact - who are the main benficiaries?
I would like to think that it would be just some of the people whose plight made sleeping a little more difficult last night, but I suspect the real beneficiaries may be living in mansions rather than slums, and that the biggest worry they will have will be tax shelters, not shelter for their children when they are orphaned alone on the streets.
Big corporations benefit big time from Comic Relief.
One way the jolly people at Comic Relief will benefit the big corporations is if you do
nate using a credit card.
There was even the introduction of The Little Red Card in 1999. The first time you use the card £5 is donated to Comic Relief, and after that 60p per £100 you spend using your credit card.
Should they really be encouraging people to get into debt to give to charity?
Isn't there an interesting paradox there?
Comic Relief encouraging people to get credit cards? To donate by credit card? To get further into debt?
And then they have the DebtWish campaign, which is a giant petition to cancel third world debt.
Am I the only person here that can see some weird stuff going on here?
The people who give the most to charity, especially when it is organised on a huge scale like Comic Relief, are often the people who can least afford it.
Don't those credit card companies get a percentage everytime you spend money using your credit card?
And what about the people who don't pay off the balance in full every month?
Who gains most from Comic Relief then?
Whilst I would agree that a lot of money is raised through Comic Relief, I can't help suspecting that the real winners are the big corporations who get often free publicity (it is their employees and customers providing a lot of the donations remember) and the crucial Millenium caring company image.
You can't buy that kind of publicity can you?
And you can't buy advertising on BBC1 and BBC2 either can you...?
Comic Relief has raised over £174 million over the years since it started in 1985. How many times this amount have companies riding on the coat tails of Comic Relief spent on advertising during this time?
According to an article by Jennifer Hiscock in the online Marketing magazine (www.marketing.haynet.com) on the UK's Top 100 Advertisers, the total marketing spend of the top 100 advertisers in the UK during 2000 was 3 billion pounds.
(Figures by ACNeilssen).
Just think about it.
Three Billion Pounds. In One Year.
And Comic Relief raised £174 million in over fifteen years.
Food for thought.
BT, who will be making a small profit no doubt from donations by phone and from voting for Celebrity Big Brother, spent £107,809,663 on advertising in the UK during 2000, and £81,966,493 the year before.
Only two years and they already spent a whole lot more than Comic Relief raised in over fifteen years.
The number one advertiser, Proctor & Gamble, spent a whopping £122,617,597 on advertising in the UK last year, and a rather shocking £161,394,530 in 1999.
Gee I wonder what their profits could be if they can afford to spend so much money on advertising?
Yes the idea behind giving to charity is a good one - we reinforce a sense of social responsibility in ourselves - but where should the money be coming from really?
How come people are starving in the world and without the most basic of human rights?
How come drug companies would rather see children die of AIDS in South Africa than supply them with cheap drugs?
How do we manage to forget the worlds disadvantaged for most of the year, yet weep when we see emotive film on TV on charity appeals?
How come we put flowers next to a road when a child's body is found dead, and shout at the TV when a child beater is jailed, when we turn the TV up to drown out the shouting from next door?
Charity shouldn't be about money - it should be about compassion. You can't buy peace of mind when the world is crying.
Philanthropy is a great way of separating ourselves from those who need our help as equals.
Whilst the ideals behind Comic Relief are laudable, you have to remember that money is King in the society we live in, and that human life is cheap.
Big corporations might donate money, but how much of their pr
ofit comes from paying poverty wages and using child labour?
When Billy Connelly demanded last night that the 97%+ of people watching who wouldn't be making a donation while the whole career boosting kleenexfest was on last night get off their fat arses and make a donation, he had a nice house and considerable finacial security to go home to.
How many of the people watching didn't make a donation because they were only on £3.60 and hour or less working for the same caring corporations whose advertising was plastered all over the TV channel we pay a license fee for so that it won't be driven by advertising?
Isn't it time these celebrities got real?
Pants to Profits might be a more fitting slogan, when much of the world's population works to supply a tiny minority with the luxuries they need to survive.
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