Sunday, April 25, 2010

The London Marathon - Nestle's sick strategy for attacking the UK boycott

Nestlé is the most boycotted company in the UK over the way it pushes baby milk and it is desperate to change the situation. It is reportedly paying celebrities US$10,000 per tweet to say nice things about it on Twitter and is hiring a PR firm to try to improve its image in cyberspace. Today it is sponsoring the London Marathon and is supplying branded Nestlé Pure Life water to runners around the course. We have produced leaflets for runners and others to hand out to use this as an opportunity to show they do not support Nestlé and have produced a press release including the following quote.

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, said: "People have to drink water doing a marathon and it is the height of irresponsibility that the organisers are providing water with the Nestlé brand, which is boycotted by many. We considered whether we could provide alternative water along the route, but it is simply unfeasible. Anyone running must put their own health first, but can hand out our leaflets to show they disagree with being forced to drink Nestlé water - for some it will be the first Nestlé product to have passed their lips for many years. It is a pretty sick way of Nestlé to force people to break their boycott and shows how desperate the company is."

Best wishes if you take part in the Marathon. Please let us and the organisers know what you think of having Nestlé as a sponsor.


Anonymous said...

I almost did the marathon this year, but had to give it a miss for varioius reasons. I did a Tesco 5k a while back without realising they were part sponsors until I got there. But I managed to refuse all of the Nestle water that was foisted upon me by rationing the small running bottle I was able to carry. Don't know how the marathon runners would have managed that given the length of the race. It'll certainly prohibit me from taking part in races in the future, which is a shame for both me and the charities I support.


Mike Brady said...

Message received:

Dear 'Baby Milk Action',

I ran the London Marathon yesterday. Thank you for your pdf Boycott leaflet which I printed and placed the large icon section in plastic and on my back for the run.

Certainly NOT taking water during the run was only possible because of the alternative 'Lucozade' distribution points. But I was, in the end, feeling the excess of sugar. I would implore the 'Virgin' organisers of the London Marathon to NOT use Nestle water again - the run became really difficult for me towards the end due to lack of water.

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to the 'Virgin' organisers.

Many thanks,


Rachael said...

I've just registered for the ballot for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon and I notice that their sponsor list doesn't appear to include Nestle but includes Vittel. Does this mean that Richard Branson and team have listened? It certainly looks like it.

I ran the marathon this year in memory of my dad and being forced to break my 20 year boycott made me extremely upset.

Rachael said...

Oh, I just checked - not being a bottled water drinker, I assumed that was a good thing. But oh no, Nestle own Vittel. But I guess they're banking on lots of people not knowing that, therefore sugar coating the Nestle pill. I'm really disappointed in Virgin.

Sasha George said...

I am working on nestle and CSR for my school document, and i was wondering if i could possibly email you some questions on how nestle is not being socially responsible. Since you are a pressure group I was also wondering about what you are doing to change things.

If you can please e-mail me at:

Thanks so much

Sasha George

Mike Brady said...

Hi Sasha, if you are unfamiliar with our work, please visit our website (link above). You will find our year reports, campaigns, newsletters and press releases.

For our priorities in 2010, see our Make a Mark page: