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Supermarket giant Asda (owned by Walmart, the largest retailer in the world) has tried to prevent The Daily Skid from referring to the company in spoof news stories.
An article in The Daily Skid two days ago (Wednesday 4th December) told how a mix-up in an Advent calendar factory had led to young recipients of a Peppa Pig calendar being faced with chocolate willies and boobs. Now in another mix-up, Asda have mistaken their customers for halfwits who can’t spot a spoof news story on a website full of spoof news stories.
Asda asked us to remove the article via a tweet yesterday evening from the Public Relations department, which said, “Please could you confirm to me where you got the quote for Andy Clarke?” (Asda’s CEO). When we pointed out that it’s not real they seemed to understand but asked us to remove the quote. In fact, they asked us to “remove any reference to Asda”.
Their problem is that we attributed to their CEO a quote about how unhappy he was about the Advent calendar mix-up. We aren’t sure exactly what the problem is – whether Mr Clarke would not be unhappy if the event was real, or if he would have handled the boobs and willies problem differently. When pushed, they graciously allowed us to say that they asked us to remove the quote and any reference to Asda. We haven’t yet worked out how to do both of those things – to not mention Asda while saying that Asda asked us to not mention them. Answers on a postcard.
To prevent any confusion we have instead added a note to the story clarifying what he did not say. We hope he understands that, due to time constraints, we can’t possibly list absolutely everything he did not say.
Over the past 51 days The Daily Skid has brought you at least one news story every day. The name of the site, particularly when read with the tag line, shows that perhaps this is not serious news. For anyone in doubt the website says the articles are written by comedy writers Phil Woods and Steve Smith. Anyone still unconvinced that this is not real news could try reading one of the stories. These are some of the topics we’ve recently covered:
All double yellow lines in Britain to be replaced in case people lick themConfused Muslim extremists take up snowboarding because they heard it’s an ‘extreme sport’The government wants to change the UK’s currency to the Haitian GourdeThe small Welsh town of Rhyl to be made a city so it can be named City of Culture 2017Scientists create a new fruit that will lift the economy by bringing in 80p per day to the Treasury
Although the news is not real, stories must naturally have some sense of reality to them because they are set in the real world. Quotes are therefore written by the writers and sometimes attributed to real people, but Asda is the first organisation to take seriously one of The Daily Skid’s many quotes. Here are some people we attributed quotes to who did not see fit to complain:
Michael Gove MP, the Education Secretary, didn’t really say “all pupils in Leicester schools will be wearing a turban as part of their uniform, regardless of creed, colour or religion”A BT spokeswoman didn’t really say that websites mentioning Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan “should never be seen by young eyes”Edmund King, President of the AA, didn’t really say the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, is “as bonkers as a kipper”Eddie Jordan didn’t really tell Bernie Ecclestone that his latest idea “stinks”Donald Brydon CBE, Chairman of Royal Mail, didn’t really advocate a ‘3rd class’ stamp for poor people, whose post is “nonsense anyway”A BBC executive didn’t really give £5,000 of Children In Need money to his young daughter because “she’s in need too” due to spending “so much time riding her pony, some of her friends have more toys than she has”
You could argue that these people or organisations didn’t see the article. However, we doubt that Asda’s CEO or PR department are avid readers of The Daily Skid. They saw it because big companies pay people to research what people on social media websites are saying about them. It’s how Asda read the article and it’s how many companies have read things we’ve said about them.
We commend Asda for its ideal of a world free of untruths but suggest that there are more important arenas to sanitise than the world of comedy.
Asda’s Retail Director, Mark Ibbotson, told us: “I agree. I don’t know what the fuss is about.”
(In Asda’s defence, there is one article from The Daily Skid that is not a spoof: this one. Everything above is true except for the final quote.)Click here to read the reaction of one section of the media to this story.