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Issue 166 - November, 2013 (2nd Edition) - Page 35

Marks & Spencer Poppy Sales Three Percent False Rumour

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Rapidly circulating social media post claims that UK store chain Marks & Spencer is only giving the Royal British Legion three percent of sales from poppies it sells.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are untrue. Marks & Spencer sells a diamante encrusted poppy brooch for which it donates 30% (not 3%) of the retail sale price to the Royal British Legion. The company also allows Royal British Legion volunteers to collect at its stores.  The Royal British Legion states on its website that it is extremely grateful for the support of Marks & Spencer. Sending on this nonsensical and inflammatory rumour may actually damage fund-raising efforts by causing people to stop buying poppies.

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Please do not be tempted to buy M&S's own poppies as they are only donating 3% to the British Legion, who have had a gagging order imposed upon them by M&S about this - utterly disgusting

Detailed Analysis

A message currently going viral via social media posts claims that UK store chain Marks & Spencer is only donating 3 percent of sales from poppies it sells to the Royal British Legion. It asks that people do not buy poppies from M&S in protest. It further claims that M&S has put a gag order on the Royal British Legion about the issue.

However, the claims in the message are untrue.   Marks & Spencer sells a diamante encrusted poppy brooch for which it donates 30% of each sale to the Royal British Legion.  And these sales are in addition to normal fund-raising efforts conducted by Royal British Legion volunteers at M&S stores. M&S notes via replies on its Facebook Page:
The Royal British Legion are pleased with the support we're offering as we're donating 30% of the sale of this brooch. We're hoping to raise an extra £500,000 for the poppy appeal from the sale of this brooch. We're proud to be supporting The Royal British Legion to raise money for the fantastic work they do within the Armed Forces community. You can read more about our partnership here:
And the Royal British Legion has posted the following information about the fund-raising initiative on its website:
Marks & Spencer has been supporting the Poppy Appeal for many years by allowing our volunteers to collect at their stores and in 2012 M&S customers raised almost £1 million!

In 2012 M&S also sold a diamante encrusted poppy brooch which was available in all UK stores and proved so popular it sold out within a couple of weeks. With 30% of the retail price donated to the Legion it helped to raise a further £169,000.

Additionally, the Legion was also one of the four charities chosen by M&S to benefit from its 'Thanks a million' campaign – a social media promotion which raised a further £3,600.

In 2013 M&S will once again be selling a diamante encrusted Poppy brooch which will be available in two sizes, as well as a bracelet and a stud pin. All products are on sale from 7 October, with 30% of the retail price donated to the charity.

M&S' donation will help fund vital services such as grants for those in financial difficulty, employment advice and funding to ease the transition from Service to civilian life.

Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising said, "The Royal British Legion is extremely grateful for the support that Marks & Spencer and its customers have shown once again this year. The money raised by M&S, will help us continue our vital work protecting the interests, welfare and memory of the Serving and ex-Service community."

Thus, the claims in this bogus protest message are not only untrue but may actually hamper fund-raising efforts by stopping people from buying poppies or donating to volunteers at M&S stores.

If you receive this message, please do not pass it on to others. And please take the time to let the poster know that the information in the message is false and counterproductive.

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Last updated: November 5, 2013
First published: November 1, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

M&S Collection Small Pave Diamanté Poppy Brooch
Marks&Spencer Facebook
The Royal British Legion

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