Monday, 4 July 2022


 Let’s stick to basics

After endlessly talking about geopolitics with stand-offs between soft liberals and the extreme right, I’ve concluded we need to focus on what we know most about, calmly and thoughtfully. For me, this is mainly advertising, marketing and fmcg (fast-moving-consumer-goods).

Let’s ignore the increasing trend towards marches and protests so often bad tempered although a Gay Pride march down Oxford Street last week was cheerful with a diverse bunch representing various facets of sexuality having a good time.

Gay Pride NYC 2022: Events, Parades and Dates to Celebrate

It made a change because cheerful is not how the media is describing our economy . We are going to be very cold, very hungry and very depressed this winter they predict. 

We’re regularly told by pollsters that the ‘cost of living crisis’ is the most important issue on people’s minds, ahead of Party-gate, Ukraine, Climate Change and corrupt, drunk or libidinous  politicians. Of course it is. Did you need to go to University to acquire the mental equipment to discover that? 

Fact: issues really close to home are the ones that always matter most to people. The amount of money they have and what they can buy with it.

The UK's cost of living crisis is about to get a whole lot worse - Bywire  Blockchain News - The home of independent & alternative news


Government is panicking  as they often do. There’s talk of  an upcoming campaign calling on businesses to divert marketing spend into cutting prices.  Silly story. Daft idea. And one which shows how little this government understands marketing or people.

Here’s a real marketing story. There’s a battle currently between Tesco and Heinz. It’s being staged as a classic Mohammad Ali v George Foreman, “rumble in the jungle”, or, in this case “knock-out at the check-out.” Two giants. One supporting the poor people, the other the poor food industry. How many customers will Tesco lose if they don’t stock Heinz Baked Beans and Heinz Tomato Ketchup? How many cases of the above will Heinz lose in sales by being destocked by their biggest UK customer? This is high drama and a great story.  And I bet sales go up for both of them.

Popular Heinz products from Baked Beans to Ketchup missing from Tesco  shelves | Irvine Times

The price increase of food in the UK since January has gone up 11% (source: IGD) and Reuters are predicting 15% increase running into 2023. Apparently the average household spend on food including take-homes and restaurants is around £4,000 – around 20% of total spend.  

McGuigan Black Label Red 2020

I can empathise. I too was once in that hand-to-mouth, month-on-month world of balancing nice-to-have versus necessity. 

In that battle healthy eating was beaten by a full tummy. Chicken nuggets became luxury food and McGuigan tasted like Lafite (almost). What was different back then was the world was less intense in terms of competition, in terms of marketers pushing prices back down or finding clever alternatives. 

We now have Aldi and Lidl highly competitive and growing rapidly, taking £1 in every £6 grocery pounds spent, and about to take more. They’re no longer the mere “German discounters” as Tesco once disparagingly described them. Go there and be impressed by price and quality.

Aldi and Lidl step up battle with US grocers | Financial Times

Since one of the biggest issues right now is food  and our alleged inability to recruit able pickers. This smells of a PR campaign. There are plenty of people who’d be happy to work outside in our glorious weather if only we pay them enough.

We used to be creative. Let’s get creative about issues like this. Let’s find new sources of “pickers”, let’s create more delicious low-cost recipes and let’s stop getting depressed because we can’t always afford to buy what we don’t really like, want or even need.

Let’s go shopping again, being choosy as opposed to just buying and hurrying on. Let’s, in short, get back to basics.

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