Peacocks in Kelly promotion fiasco

Value retailer is forced to perform an embarrassing U-turn on Stars in Your Eyes promotion

Retailer Peacocks, a corporate partner of children’s charity NCH, has backtracked on an “opportunistic” decision to sell T-shirts carrying a catchphrase from ITV show Stars in Your Eyes. The show’s presenter, Matthew Kelly, was arrested last week after child abuse allegations.

A series of Peacocks statements about the T-shirts carried the NCH logo, and this has landed the value retailer in hot water with the charity over the use of its identity.

Peacocks issued a statement only last Friday saying that it had decided to sell the T-shirts, which carry the phrase “Tonight Matthew I’m Going to Be…” following the “positive reception Kelly got when he appeared on stage for his pantomime” the previous night. It claims to have ordered the T-shirts in October, for a promotion due to run this week. It decided to continue on the basis that Kelly was innocent until proven guilty.

In the statement, Peacocks chief executive Richard Kirk said: “This may look like we’re being opportunistic, but it was just amazing coincidence. Good timing? We think. Bad taste? We hope not. Let the great British public decide.”

But in a startling U-turn, the retailer issued a statement on Monday saying that it was not going to put the T-shirts in its stores after all.

An NCH spokeswoman says: “We are not making any judgment on Kelly’s innocence or guilt. However, we as a children’s charity must take this issue seriously. This won’t damage our relationship with Peacocks, with which we have worked for five years, as it has acted responsibly by withdrawing the T-shirts.

But we will be talking to Peacocks about the use of our logo on future documents.”

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