I was reading in The Guardian the other day about a new move by Sainsburys to use so called ‘ordinary’ folk in their latest marketing campaign. You know, the stuff which Jamie used to do. This is all part of a newish trend which has occurred as a direct result of the recession where marketing people seem to think we will spend more in their shop or on their product if we see everyday folk using the services and making the stuff last.
Amongst other things which Sainsbury will be dishing up (like the pun?) fabulous frugal cookery blogger Jack Monroe will be showing us how to make a chicken last 3 days. All well and good, but I already know how to do these things, as do most people who have ever struggled with cash. It’s not what I want to see. I can find out these things by delving further on the Internet as needs must. What I want to do is cook a delicious cake like Nigella and I want Sainsbury to tell me that by shopping there my cakes wont taste like solidified lard, but rather like the food of the gods. I liked Jamie telling me how to cook my pasta, even though we all knew he wasn’t really using ‘basics’ wholewheat stuff.
I don’t want to know how to cook a vegetarian burger for 20p or see someone else’s fluffy yet ordinary family whilst my kids have a punch up over the decision whether to buy Jaffa Cakes or custard creams. That’s for blog surfing at home. Whilst in the shop or flicking through the magazine, I want to fool myself that I really live in a west London mansion or a country farmhouse and by buying those sausages and cooking them with a bit of cream I’ll be dishing up what Nigel Slater is having for dinner. Not what my neighbours are having.
It’s the same with beauty products and fashion stores. Whilst I applaud the use of plus size models and think it’s a brilliant thing I have to admit that I’m picky. I don’t want fat slob from the bingo hall or fat girl next door to sell me stuff. I want the likes of Sophie Dahl. I cant be the only person that thinks those people in that awful Gok Wan programme don’t ever really look any better. I’m not a skinny girl, I’m that girl next door, you don’t want to see me advertising Marks and Spencer pyjamas. I want to think I’m going to be glamorous when I go into the shop and buy the product. Am I the only person who has stopped wearing an item of clothing when they have seen it on a school mum?
Lets face it, if we all had a choice we’d shop in Selfridges, Liberty, and the likes of Waitrose, farm shops and independent retailers. The reasons vary but the element of glamour, glitz, money and ethics are what is attractive about these shops. The special ‘over all experience’. Not the fact that they are everyday sort of places for everyman.
I think this is where these retailers are going wrong if they want to attract the ordinary middle class mum (like me). We must spend about £14k a year in a supermarket if I am being realistic, this includes food, household goods, insurance, clothes, cafe going and petrol. What would attract me to spend that money in a particular shop would promoted of ethical values. I’d shop somewhere which highlighted its charity efforts. A shop which tried to tackle food waste, which gives a proportion of food to food banks, which paid its staff a fair wage and actively tries to reduce food miles. This shop would make me think I’m cooking Nigel Slater or Jamie Oliver’s finest dinners at a fraction of the price, it’s value range would be endorsed by a celebrity chef so I didn’t feel such a cheapskate. Ironically most of the major supermarkets do this, they just don’t shout about it from the rooftops.
In the long run, unless a supermarket actively campaigns and demonstrates that they share my values and the things I’ve highlighted above I wont favour it above any other and in that sense an advertising/ marketing campaign is a bit pointless. At the moment I tend to shop where I get the biggest number of relevant discount offers or where and when its convenient. I buy the same range of products because they either meet my financial goals or because I share the values and ethics of the brand.
This debate reminds me of this utterly brilliant YouTube Video, I hope it makes you laugh as much as I did. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Do you want to be Joe Bloggs who you can identify with or do you aspire to more?