Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Legitimate Protest: Jean-Marc Nicolle, the director of strategy at PSA Peugeot Citroën, is upset because British unions angry about a plant closure are calling for a consumer boycott of the company’s products, and is prepared to spend £1 million in advertising to persuade consumers to buy someone else’s products.

Nicolle says the “trade unions have no mandate [for a boycott],” and that “The boycott is ... against the open market in Europe.”

It’s possible that Nicolle’s comments lost something in translation to this Guardian piece, but in an open market, consumers have a right to consider all the facts about a company and its product before they make a decision, including its labor policies. And the union has a perfect right to tell consumers about those labor policies… and as much right to urge people not to buy a product as the company has to urge people to buy them.

Whether the union is smart to launch this campaign is arguable, but Nicolle is wrong to suggest it’s somehow not “legitimate.”

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