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Hedley Malloch

Poppy - National symbol of remembrance or corporate brand?

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Hedley Malloch

I am sorry that the last thread on topic went off piste, because there are some serious points to be made. 

The poppy’s difficulty today is that it is expected to be both a corporate brand and a national symbol of the remembrance. These two make for very uneasy bedfellows. It is a brand (RBL have the copyright) and it is used to make money. The need to raise cash has deepened over the last ten years and this has led to a commercialisation which can be vulgar. I am sorry but poppies the size of dinner plates screwed to the grille of land rovers and poppies on cuff links are vulgar - vulgar as in showing no taste whatsoever. We also have a culture of my-bigger-poppy-is-better-than-your-smaller-poppy. Pressures to wear poppies earlier are part of this commercialisation. I doubt whether football managers were wearing them last week without prompting. If so, who told them and why?

 Why do RBL need all this extra money?  I would start by looking at how much RBL’s senior managers are paid and how much of it is linked to performance as measured by sales. What gets measured and rewarded gets managed and everything else takes its chance. In this case, ‘everything else’ is the poppy as a symbol of the remembrance of loss.

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John_Hartley

Little I'd disagree with there, Hedley.

 

Looking at senior managers' salaries is , however, a cheap shot, IMO. It's the same cheap shot often tossed in the direction of public sector bodies (get rid of the managers and the NHS will be saved).  And, no doubt, with the same result if the facts are analysed. Those salaries will be a tiny fraction of the organisations total spend. The senior managers of the RBL inlcude the Director General and seven directors acting as heads of departments. I do not know, but would not be surprised to learn, that the Director of Fundraising and the Director of Marketing had performance bonuses linked to sales. At least I hope they do. Such bonuses/commissions are entirely commonplace for employees who sell things. However, I doubt whether, for example, their Human Resources or IT directors have any salary element linked to poppy sales. The wider point here is that, for its senior posts, it competes in the job market for recruits and, if they do not want monkeys, they must not pay peanuts. 

 

 

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Terry_Reeves

I disagree with  Hedley's comments.  Let's not forget that the money raised by the RBL goes to assist ex-servicemen and women, it is not just about a poppy for the 11th of November. 

 

Like it or not, the RBL has to compete with umpteen charities to raise funds for their excellent work and like all other charities has to move with the times.  If that means introducing  different products to raise funds and employing experts in this field as a means of supporting  those who have served their country , so be it.

 

This is the armed forces looking after themselves.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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John S

I think the RBL only hold copyright on one particular style of poppy, I believe it is a two leaf one, and not every style of poppy. This is why we see at this time of year an increase in non-RBL poppy merchandise.
The RBL beneficiaries includes the families as well.

John

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John_Hartley
32 minutes ago, John S said:

 

I think the RBL only hold copyright on one particular style of poppy

 

They can't copyright every image of poppies.

 

The folk who designed my Stockport website wanted to include a poppy (as it is a readily understood symbol of remembrance). What they did was photograph one in their own garden and digitally messed about with it.

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depaor01
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

They can't copyright every image of poppies.

 

The folk who designed my Stockport website wanted to include a poppy (as it is a readily understood symbol of remembrance). What they did was photograph one in their own garden and digitally messed about with it.

I think it's the usual style of poppy usually seen on  BBC that John S refers to. Poppy photos in general can't be copyrighted. A self-taken photograph of a poppy in a field belongs to the taker of the photo.

 

Dave

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Steven Broomfield

The Charities Commission recently produced/released a report into the work of some the new, small, military charities. It was (according the the reports I read in the Papers) quite an indictment of poor management, misguided thinking, paths to hell paved with good intentions, etc. Most of the problems were caused by well-meaning but incompetent people. I'd rather give my donation to a well-run organisation led by people who know what they're doing, and - as I know to my cost - charities seldom pay as much as a private business would, but even so we can't work for nothing. People who work for charities have mortgages to pay and kids to bring up.

 

The RBL poppy is a brand, in the same way that many other charities have brands - think Red Cross.

 

A chum of mine, who used to work for the charity that pays me now works for RBL Industries (a commercial off-shoot of the RBL) and never ceases to tell me how well it is managed compared to ...

 

I also read Robert Fisk's article about the RBL and poppy in the Independent. What a nasty piece of work.

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Hedley Malloch

Why would anyone want to copyright any of it unless it was for some form of corporate gain? If it is a national symbol of memory and loss it should be free to everyone.

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Hedley Malloch

My own views of the RBL were formed about 6 years ago. I was a member living in northern France. I wanted the contact details of the Branvh Secretary of the RBL in Ypres. I rang the RBL in London to enquire. The exchange went something like this:

 

Me: I would like the contact details of the branch secretary of the RBL Ypres branch, please.

RbL: Where?

Me: Ypres.

RBL: ...pause and sound of consultations off ... Where did you say?

Me Ypres

RBL pause ... Could you spell that please?

Me Y-P-R-E-S.

RBL another pause and more consultation off ... Ypres you say?

Me Yes - Ypres.

RBL Could you tell me where Ypres is?

 

it was at that point that I realised that RBL was losing the plot. I did not resign, but I never renewed..

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Trev2386

The RBL poppy is copyrighted so that only they can use it to fund raise and not let some other low life sell poppy products and make profits which do not go to those that deserve it.

I also disagree that some poppy products are “vulgar”. I wear a poppy badge all year round, as I remember those who I served with who gave their lives for others all year round. I have poppy cuff links, I have a “Somme” rememberance poppy badge and also a poppy tattoo. Does that make me a vulgar person, or someone who remembers? I’m certainly no snob when it comes to poppy products, if you buy a poppy, big, small, two petals, four petals, or a cornflower, then good for them, at least they are making an effort and a contribution.

 

Trev.

 

(poppy badge collector!)

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Steven Broomfield

Trev - not my taste but it's still (just about) a free country, so go ahead. Good on you.

 

And I agree with your comments about copyright: I reported some grotty knock-off FB site which was flogging tat on the pretext of supporting the Poppy Appeal (they weren't) so the RBL were able to take legal action to stop punters being ripped off by what is effectively a set of crooks.

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ilkley remembers

I can understand RBL efforts to collect as much money as possible, however, I draw the line at their acceptance of corporate sponsorship from arms companies like Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems

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Gareth Davies

And what is the effect of your line drawing? 

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ilkley remembers
2 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

And what is the effect of your line drawing? 

It doesn't have an effect

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Trev2386
2 hours ago, ilkley remembers said:

I can understand RBL efforts to collect as much money as possible, however, I draw the line at their acceptance of corporate sponsorship from arms companies like Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems

 

I don’t see the problem myself, those that we remember and support have used their kit!

 

Trev

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Bernard_Lewis
5 hours ago, ilkley remembers said:

It doesn't have an effect

Fair play, a straight answer to a straight question. Good to see.

 

As an aside, we visited the Welcome Collection in London last week (worth a look, fantastic bookshop) and a guide was explaining to us why the International Red Cross is (apparently) VERY protective over the use of its symbol.

 

Keen not to dilute what it depicts, avoid oiks using it in a disreputable manner etc. Presumably the RBL takes a similar tack?

 

Bernard

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John_Hartley
1 hour ago, Bernard_Lewis said:

Welcome Collection in London last week (worth a look, fantastic bookshop)

Good caff, as well.

 

And handy for Euston for us northwesterners.

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Medaler

It's easy really,

 

1/ If you don't like the RBL, don't buy their merchandise.

2/ If you do like the RBL but don't like poppies, just send them a donation.

3/ If you don't like either, keep the money in your pocket.

 

If you feel "left out" because your not wearing a poppy - having gone for any of the above options......

 

1/ Change your mind.

2/ Stay at home until 13th November.

3/ Have the same courage in your convictions as those who flocked to join the largest volunteer army that Britain has ever put into the field. If it hadn't been for them, we wouldn't be having this debate..

 

" We also have a culture of my-bigger-poppy-is-better-than-your-smaller-poppy". I think there might be some confusion here about another word that begins with "P", but as flowers go, it is actually more like a Tulip.

 

Mike

 

 

Edited by Medaler
Date adjustment

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asanewt
35 minutes ago, Medaler said:

It's easy really,

 

1/ If you don't like the RBL, don't buy their merchandise.

2/ If you do like the RBL but don't like poppies, just send them a donation.

3/ If you don't like either, keep the money in your pocket.

 

If you feel "left out" because your not wearing a poppy - having gone for any of the above options......

 

1/ Change your mind.

2/ Stay at home until 12th November.

3/ Have the same courage in your convictions as those who flocked to join the largest volunteer army that Britain has ever put into the field. If it hadn't been for them, we wouldn't be having this debate..

 

" We also have a culture of my-bigger-poppy-is-better-than-your-smaller-poppy". I think there might be some confusion here about another word that begins with "P", but as flowers go, it is actually more like a Tulip.

 

Mike

 

 

Para 2, point 2, bad move. Remembrance Sunday will be awash with poppies.

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Medaler
2 minutes ago, asanewt said:

Para 2, point 2, bad move. Remembrance Sunday will be awash with poppies.

 

Good point, well made. I will edit that.

 

Mike

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ilkley remembers

I suppose for some people displaying plastic poppies on the grill of their car, vulgarity is the least of their problems. The Sunday Times reports today,

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/beaten-up-for-poppies-on-his-car-pd6c6xdb0?CMP=Sprkr-_-Editorial-_-TheTimesandTheSundayTimes-_-News-_-Imageandlink-_-Statement-_-Unspecified-_-FBPAGE&linkId=44071881

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asanewt
10 minutes ago, Medaler said:

 

Good point, well made. I will edit that.

 

Mike

Nah. Could be good outcome ;)

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Medaler
1 hour ago, ilkley remembers said:

I suppose for some people displaying plastic poppies on the grill of their car, vulgarity is the least of their problems. The Sunday Times reports today,

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/beaten-up-for-poppies-on-his-car-pd6c6xdb0?CMP=Sprkr-_-Editorial-_-TheTimesandTheSundayTimes-_-News-_-Imageandlink-_-Statement-_-Unspecified-_-FBPAGE&linkId=44071881

 

Looking at the picture, this could be the work of an RBL hit squad. They were obviously not happy with the pink poppy on the left. He must have used that one for several years for it to have faded to that colour. Trust me, it takes years for anything red to fade to pink in the sunlight of Derby.

 

Mike

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John_Hartley
2 hours ago, Medaler said:

 

If you feel "left out" because your not wearing a poppy

Never worn a poppy. Never likely to. And never felt left out.

 

By the by, I've been invited to do the "official" unveiling of the village's new "contemplation sculpture" which will sit on the village green at the other end from the war memorial.  It's a tree carving of poppies. Looks good

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voltaire60

       Neutral on this one (I think). Can see the case for the RBL poppy being copyrighted, for protection against spivs.  Not that keen on some of the other items of RBL merchandise. -the fuse cap cufflinks strike me as vulgar whoever is flogging them. And somewhat expensve as the supply of dug-out-of the-ground fuse caps does not seem in danger of running out any time soon.

 

    Still hope a Haig Fund poppy will return. (Mind you, I still hope Corona lemonade, Jamboree bags and Spangles will reappear-No-don't take this thread off course-we have been there already)

 

     Disagree with some about the timing of remembrance No such thing as an "official" remembrance season or start date. The key thing about remembrance is to remember- how you do it, when you do it, what you do is your choice. I see no reason for not wearing a RBL poppy at any time one wishes (or not,as per John Hartley)

 

       No objection about arms companies stumping up money-seems quite appropriate. After all, in one sense, they did "sponsor" the entire Great  War

     

     Not that keen on some of the methods of remembrance in schools-eg  making model trenches out of plasticine (almost as daft as making real trenches out of mud,clay and sand that was prevalent in Northern France and the south of Belgium between late 1914 and the end of 1918, come to think of it). But if we don't change our approaches to the way that we encourage the next generations to remember, then might as well not bother.

 

       One small thing that irritates me is the hijacking of remembrance by some folk of RBL at local level- a little too stridently "patriotic", as I am not allowed to stray into political matters. Locally, I work on a local Roll. The main local war memorial is badly eroded and now only has 190 names on it, instead of the 223 it opened with nin 1922-and some of the ones left are wrong to boot. The architect bought the wrong lump of stone and it stained and eroded in the London atmostphere and rain even before the beast was officially opened. So when the local RBL stand in front of it every November, I find it rather hypocritical when they intone "We will remember them"- as they apparently haven't even looked at the memorial to see that there are a chunk of names missing. 

 

       Now as we live in a tolerant and permissive society, then I will respect John Hartley's choice. about not wearing a poppy-and get mine ready to wear next Empire Day. I am sure that he and I might debate the matter amicably at some future time-preferably at one of the pubs mentioned in another recent thread.

 

     

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