December 2, 2015

Amazon Anonymous shames Amazon’s tax dodging ways in new spoof ad


amazon tax dodge

Anywhere. Anytime.

Amazon Anonymous—the anti-Amazon campaigning group—celebrated ‘Cyber Monday’ in a unique way this year.

The collective hired a ten-foot van to drive around central London carrying a fake Amazon advertisement that read: “Amazon tax dodge. Enjoy unlimited instant tax dodging subsidised by government hand-outs. Anywhere, anytime.” The small print stated, “Amazon UK paid just £11.9mn tax on sales of £5.3bn last year.”

The organization grew out of a petition started in December of 2013 by “three disgruntled Amazon customers” in an effort to pressure Amazon into paying livable wages in the U.K. In 2014, Amazon Anonymous called on people to boycott the retailer over the Christmas holidays, and collected over 41,000 signatures, which the group estimate cost Amazon £5.5 million in sales (MobyLives covered that wonderful story here).

Other genius stunts have included placing a fake listing on Amazon which read like a book title: “Amazon: pay living wages to your workers [Paperback].” It had an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars (and we wrote about it here).

Christmas stunts have now become an annual event. This year Amazon Anonymous raised £3,500 in donations to hire the van. They drove it around London on Monday, a ride that included extended loops around Amazon’s headquarters in Holborn.

Speaking to The Guardian, campaigner Bex Hay said their intention was to make a campaign that was “really visible and to show it to Christmas shoppers, who might not know what Amazon is up to.” She was delighted with the end results (as reported by The Guardian):

The driver had to keep stopping for people to take selfies. Outside Amazon HQ, loads of Amazon workers came out to take pictures as well.

Campaigner Jo Beardsmore explained why an annual reminder to Amazon, at the busiest time of the year, is so important:

As customers we need to tell them that if they don’t treat their workers properly, and if they keep dodging tax, we won’t give them our cash. There’s plenty of better companies and local shops who do contribute properly to society, and we’ll be providing boycotters with plenty of tips to do just that.

You can join the movement here.


Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.