Friday, February 27, 2009

The power of hubris: Should Bonds' charity have begun at home?


A Bonds charity singlet emblazoned with “The Power of Humanity” Red Cross slogan and launched a week ago in collaboration with ACP's Grazia to raise $50,000 towards the Victorian Bushfires Appeal, may come back to haunt the intimate apparel giant in the wake of this week’s news that Bonds’ Pacific Brands parent plans to axe 1850 jobs. And notably of course, following today’s revelations that PacBrands executives gave themselves 170percent pay hikes in 2008, with remuneration for the company’s 13 directors more than doubling from $7million to $15.5 million – a move that has been branded "obscene" and a "corporate crime".

The $25 singlet was apparently initiated by Grazia, with product and services donated by Bonds and Wazzup Screenprinting.

Two thousand singlets were made, with half distributed through General Pants.

In its February 16 edition, Grazia encouraged readers to buy the “exclusive and strictly limited edition” feelgood merchandise, devoting a corner of its front cover to a shot of Bonds ambassador Sarah Murdoch in the garment:

grazia via GWAS

On February 18, Australian fashion media-specialist blogger Erica Bartle criticised the initiative on her Girl With a Satchel blog.

Noted Bartle:
Grazia is well-meaning, no doubt, but I can't help but feel its fashionification of this unfortunate event borders on being tacky… I can't help but feel I'm being served a tabloid Big Mac with a charitable, calorie-free side salad”.

On Wednesday this week – prior to the retrenchments announcement by Pacific Brands – Bartle (an ACP contributor) posted an apology to Grazia, saying that she had had a change of heart.

The post prompted a barrage of commentary from readers (including this journalist), many of whom thought that Bartle had gotten it right the first time.

In the comments on Bartle's latest post, one anonymous poster claims that the photograph of Murdoch in the slogan-emblazoned singlet was a retouched version of an earlier image from the January 2008 edition of ACP stablemate, Harpers Bazaar.

While this remains to be seen, the singlet and image appear to have been organised with the blessing of Murdoch, who released the following statement to Grazia for the February 16 edition:
“The Power of Humanity has been well and truly witnessed with so many Australians banding together to support those devastated by the fires. Every dollar raised from the sale of these Chesty singlets will go to Australian Red Cross to continue that support. Thank you.”

You have to wonder just how Murdoch is feeling about her ongoing Bonds ambassadorial role today.


LexyB said...

Hmmm. Highly dubious ethics on display.

Style On Track said...

A huge contradiction from bonds, good spotting frockwriter

Anonymous said...

It's sad that the other parties have been looked over.

I worked on the graphics for the singlet (housemouse) and we are proud to support the efforts of fundraising for the bushfire appeal.

Pacbrands (Bonds) were only 1 of a few companies to donate their time (ie general pants, wazzup and housemouse).

This cannot be fortgotten.

I think they look great :)
I hope the raised money goes to those most in need...

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