A campaign by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) for corporate support for marriage equality launched in The Australian with 50 companies is continuing to grow, with conglomerate Wesfarmers joining another 110 companies to push the total corporate signatories to 553.
The growth from 442 signatories only a week ago further underlines the level of influence generated by newspapers through the ads placed by AME.
Some of the initial signatories to express support in The Australian advertisement included Qantas, PwC, Commonwealth Bank, Optus, Google, Virgin, Westpac, David Jones and ANZ.
The success of AME’s newspaper advertisement is the focus of the latest phase of The Newspaper Works Influential by Nature trade marketing campaign.
Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said in a letter to AME that to deny same-sex couples the right to marry was unacceptable to his company.
“While Australia continues to exclude same-sex attracted people from this important and highly valued institution, it sends a message that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation remains acceptable,” Mr Goyder wrote
Wesfarmers lists Coles, Bunnings and a number of mining interests among its portfolio of companies.
Other recent corporate signatories include Coca Cola and Microsoft.
AME deputy director of AME Ivan Hinton-Teoh believes the original print ad resonated because it reflected the level of support for marriage equality that exists in the community.
“So, its significance continues to reverberate because it has provided other organisations, and small businesses, an opportunity of participating in something that is obviously significant to them in a way that no other platform has provided,” he said.
The simplicity of the advertisement was a major contributor to achieving this successful response, according to Mr Hinton-Teoh.
“I think the campaign that we ran had, at its essence, simplicity. And the platform of newspapers has an element of simplicity, and power in that simplicity, that on a single page were able to demonstrate enormous power, enormous strength for this reform,” he said.
Mr Hinton-Teoh sees the support from corporate businesses as a positive change to society.
“Corporates have a tendency of being defined as without soul and without conscience, and I think this is a significant step in Australian corporate culture to recognise the significance of this social justice issue,” he said.
Other newspapers have since followed suit, running similar advertising campaigns in their papers. Joining the campaign are the South Western Times, the Goulburn Post, and the Bendigo Advertiser.
As a result of the advertisement in the Bendigo Advertiser, Mr Hinton-Teoh said a woman can into a local store featured and spoke to a person behind the counter. “She said to him: ‘Because you appeared in this ad to support marriage equality, finally my son had the courage to come out to his family; finally my son has the courage to be who he is, to recognise that he is supported by our local community,” he said.