I think people in big companies as well as people in the media are quite aware of this practise. I only found out about it last week, and in my honest opinion, I find it rather awkward and it puts people in a dilemma. While big corporations may find it as an opportunity for smaller companies to show goodwill, I find it a direct extortion of small company's money.
What the heck am I talking about?!? It's about putting up congratulatory ad in the newspaper. You know, you've read "Congratulations to Mun Mun's Furniture Shop on achieving ISO9002." or "Congratulations to Ahmad's Grocery Story on the opening of a new branch in Sentul." When I read those thingies, I at first thought it's the vendors' nice thoughts of putting congratulatory ad for their big client so that they can gain further support from them.
The real news is this. Murugan's Chee Cheong Fun Restaurant is just about to open its 5th branch in Selayang. So this is what Murugan does. He calls up the media (The Moon, Old Straight Clock or The Chinese Letter) and tells them that he wishes to put up a congratulatory ad one full page in the newspaper. He then gives the media names of his vendors, including Pak Cik Mat who supplies the kuey teow, Muthusamy who supplies the fishballs and other fish related stuff, and Kheong Ho for his sauce.
So, the media then contacts these vendors saying "Hey, your client Murugan is opening their 5th branch, so I'd like to know how much you want to contribute to the congratulatory ad. It's RM5000+ for quarter page black and white." This puts the vendors in a difficult position. They are actually asked on their goodwill to take out money to pay for a congratulatory ad by Murugan to congratulate Murugan. Errr... I just simply don't agree with this picture. Yes, I understand that under the page it will say "From: Pak Cik Mat (logo), Muthusamy (logo) and Kheng Ho (logo)".... still, it's like trying to sell a direct selling product to a good friend hoping on his goodwill as a friend to purchase the stuff from you. Not ethical.
But I guess that's how the world works. Sigh....