Friday, July 14, 2006

The Tesco branding enigma – a theory.

Over the years, there has been a lot of attempts by a fair number of fair minded English nationalists including Drew, Debs, John, Gareth, Wonko and others, to persuade Tesco, the high street bully boys to label English produce - as English and not British.

All we want is equality – equal labelling rights for all Tesco produce. If Scottish beef has a Saltire on the label and Welsh Lamb has a dragon on it then it is surely reasonable that English Cheddar Cheese should have a St George’s flag on the wrapper rather than a Union Flag.

Most attempts to get a satisfactory answer from Tesco HQ has been met by a standard rebuttal of stonewallery. "England too big" (yawn), "the English have no national loyalty" (yeah, right), "distribution lines far too complex" (what a laugh)….

Over the last few weeks there has been a some fairly vigorous debate on the English blogosphere as to why Tesco have taken such a bizarre and frankly racist retail position.

A trawl through various blogs gives a really damning indictment of the Tesco intransigence. This extract is typical –
"However, I can confirm that any products which are marked British (with a union flag) and which do not have a (national flag) indicator to state that the source is from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are of an English source".

Paula Suttie, Tesco Customer Service

So why do Tesco take such a pettily weird position on their consistent failure to recognise England through a brand flag identity?

For what it’s worth, this is my explanation…

It's not because they are worried that labelling English goods in an equal manner to other British goods would reduce the sales of these products in England.....

It’s not because the English public would fail to ‘buy in’ to the English identity, preferring to think of themselves as British. The English know who they are – and are at ease with that, just look at the flag waving during the recent World Cup.

No, I think the problem lies to the north and west of us. I think the marketeers at Tesco believe produce on sale in Scottish and Welsh stores with a St George’s flag stuck on the front would have a disastrous effect on the sales of those goods in those countries. Scottish and Welsh shoppers would shun identifiably English goods – and choose their own ‘local’ alternative instead. Guaranteed.

Tesco food lines are rolled out to the whole of the UK. Therefore English produce is on sale as far north as Fort William and as west as Milford Haven – to get round the possibility of rejection, they rebrand English goods as ‘British’ – so as not to cause any ‘offence’ to the locals.

And how terrible is that? It’s got nothing to do with pressure from the Government, or falling in behind a EU hidden agenda. It’s all to do with economics – and the perceived losses Tesco believe they might make on 15% of their UK turnover. Think the theory might be far fetched? Then just remember what happened a few weeks ago during the world cup.

So, to conclude with my theory, the only reason Tesco do not have an English flag on their English produce is to solve their perceived belief that to do so would inflame the in-built bigoted beliefs of their Scottish and Welsh customers.

Tesco believe that selling English produce with a St George's flag on it would bring about a catastrophic rejection of overtly English produce within the stores in those countries. And as most of the Tesco own label lines are of English origin, this would provoke a huge downturn in sales in both Scotland and Wales Tesco stores.



Steve said...

Spot on - you know it make sense!

So tell Tesco you're going to boycott their goods until you see English flags on English goods.

Lurch said...

Yup, no shortage of anti-English racism north of the border. A southern colleague of mine recently ventured north and was shocked by it.