Gloria Jean’s bragging backfires

From the Boycott Gloria Jean's Facebook page

When Peter Irvine bought Gloria Jean’s coffees he wanted to make it the ‘most loved and respected coffee company in the world’. The Hillsong elder and former Mercy Ministries head couldn’t have failed harder if he’d tried. His firm proudly has proudly funded or otherwise supported the Australian Christian Lobby, Family First, Hillsong church, Mercy Ministries, Jesus Racing, Hope 103.2 Christian radio and a plethora of other homophobic or fundamentalist Christian causes. Many of these are simply not respectable these days.

When the firm was roundly excoriated for a $30k donation to the rabidly gay-obsessed ACL, the company put its very best Social Media Expert Gurus on the case. On its Facebook page, Gloria Jean’s Coffees apologised for our offense rather than their evil homophobia. They claimed the $30k they gave to the Australian Christian Lobby was simply a fee for advertising, not a donation. They were lying: the Australian Electoral Commission lists it as a donation. Their notpology was co-signed by quite a number of senior GJ’s executives: but notably absent was Peter Irvine. Was he unrepentant? It looked like it.

Further more, Gloria Jean’s ignored any mention of a further donation, one of $10k to anti-gay party Family First. They lied about their affiliation with Hillsong. They claimed no religious affiliation at all, when the opposite was embarrassingly evident.

The Internet was not impressed, and the outraged comments still continue to flood on to every post, faster than they can censor them. Hillsong’s social media strategy could hardly get worse.

But it did. Gloria Jean’s thought now was a great time to start bragging about the donations they make. Leaving out the obvious hate groups, their arrogant boasting used charities such as Variety, Miracle Babies and the Bone Health Foundation to try and fix the PR mess created by Australia’s most hated coffee company.

And (even better!) they did it on Twitter. With a hashtag. A medium thoroughly beyond their control. Apparently their SMEG was off sick when #qantasluxury happened. The #WithHeartLocal hashtag they chose for their public masturbation has been thoroughly claimed for the forces of good.

And it’s fucking glorious.


Gloria Jean’s have to fire their PR firm. They need someone with a real understanding of the 21st century, its rejection of immoral bigotry and its fresh frontiers of digital communication.

I’m happy to volunteer my services. In fact, I will even give them a free sample of my wisdom. Here’s what they must do:

Admit that they donated to the ACL and Family First. Apologise sincerely and humbly for those donations, rather than everyone else’s reaction. Donate at least $50k to Australian Marriage Equality.

They will never, ever be the most loved coffee company in the world. But right now, they seem to be running blindfolded in the opposite direction.

6 Comments

  1. overblown
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 13:12 | Permalink

    To me the problem is that they lied about donations, not that they donated to Family First and the ACL. If they want to donate to those groups, that’s their decision and their’s alone – nobody else’s.

    I don’t think it’s right to expect them to pay money to the AU Marriage Equality group either. Maybe I’m misreading it, but to me that says they should pay that money because they’re “wrong”. They’re not wrong, they just have different beliefs to you and me. Nobody should be forced to do things against their idaels, regardless of how silly they are.

  2. Posted July 19, 2012 at 13:21 | Permalink

    You seem to be suggesting that the belief that LGBT people should be discriminated against is no more wrong than the belief that they should not.

    If so, I’m afraid I think you’re wrong.

    No-one is saying Gloria Jean’s may not support any cause they choose, just as people of conscience may choose to boycott them in disgust.

    I am not saying GJ’s has to donate to marriage equality. I suspect they won’t, while Peter Irvine and Nabi Saleh still control the firm.

    I merely mean to suggest that as a PR strategy, the best thing they can do to stem the haemmoraging of public affection is to make good in a meaningful way.

    I could be wrong, of course. But this isn’t going away.

  3. Dean Elyjah
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 14:13 | Permalink

    Dean Elyjah Dear Jenny, many years ago, your brother Andrew and I, along with many thousands of Aussie and Global GLBTI Friends BOYCOTTED a certain beer in TASMANIA. It did a lot of considerable damage. I urge any GLBTI Franchisees of GLORIA JEANS to read the fine print of their franchisee agreement. There is a CLAUSE regarding BRAND DAMAGE BY A FRANCHISEE and it is EQUALLY applied to THE BRAND OWNER OF GLORIA JEANS.

  4. Kelly James, Signal Hill, CA
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 14:21 | Permalink

    Heard about this earlier this year. Gloria Jean’s Coffee is a rather well known chain here in the USA as well…although not as popular as Starbucks–I’m only aware of a couple in my neck of the woods. As someone said, they do have dishwater coffee (possibly even weaker than that–but in comparison, it makes Starbucks taste like mud), way too much “cutesy” merchandise in the stores, and their prices were higher than their competition (not a good marketing choice).

    If enough people are made aware of this, and boycott GJC, they might get the message…after all, the “Good Christians” they are claiming to support shouldn’t be drinking a stimulant (drug: caffeine) like coffee anyway, so how could they convince their followers to buy their main-line product?

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2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Jeans has been the subject of much dispute lately, with allegations that they have been giving money to mercy ministries, a ministry [...]

  2. By Different roofs on May 2, 2017 at 08:55

    Different roofs…

    Gloria Jean’s bragging backfires – Dave The Happy Singer…

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