Unicef accuses Tesco of misusing charity slogan


UNITED NATIONS children’s agency Unicef Ireland and supermarket giant Tesco have become embroiled in a row over the use of the slogan “Change for Good”.

Unicef Ireland has accused Tesco Ireland of capitalising on the name of one of its “longest running and best-known campaigns”, in place since 1987.

But Tesco expressed surprise at Unicef and insisted “there is no question of misusing their brand which is registered only for use by charities”.

Unicef Ireland’s executive director Melanie Verwoerd said however they had been getting calls non-stop from people asking them what the link was with Tesco.

“Change for Good” is trade marked Unicef for charity usage but is not trademarked for commercial or retail use.

Ms Verwoerd said, however, “this is not a legal issue. It is a moral issue” and she called on the public “who have children’s welfare at heart, to consider carefully who they support when making consumer choices”.

A Tesco spokesman said “Unicef need have no concern over any confusion for consumers” between the two campaigns.

The agency said “it is the first time in Unicef’s history that a commercial entity has purposely set out to capitalise on one of our campaigns and subsequently damage an income stream which several of our programmes for children are dependent on”.

Unicef uses the slogan for its campaign with 10 international airlines on long-haul flights where passengers donate foreign currency.

In Ireland the campaign is run in conjunction with Aer Lingus and has raised €6.8 million since 1997.

Tesco has used “Change for Good” as part of a summer advertising price reduction campaign.

A spokesman for the company said “our ‘Change for Good’ programme has proven very popular with consumers who have seen significant reductions in the price of groceries as confirmed by the National Consumer Agency’s survey this week”.

There were discussions between the two sides about the slogan. Tesco said “there was one short meeting and some e-mails were exchanged which we believed had resolved the issue”.

Ms Verwoerd rejected this and said they had contacted Tesco in May and eventually, she said, “they told us it would be a low-key, below the radar in-store campaign but it is a major campaign”.

The retailer is understood to have agreed the campaign was only for the summer.

Ms Verwoerd said “we fail to understand why a company with a multimillion-euro advertising budget finds it necessary to use a children’s charities slogan which we have spend years developing”.

Tesco sources insist the supermarket was unaware of Unicef’s use of the slogan when it started its campaign.

Ms Vorwoerd said “I find that very hard to believe. Has none of them flown transatlantic with Aer Lingus?”