An Advertising Clunker At Sainsbury’s

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An advertising clunker at Sainsbury's

The strapline on the ad read like this: “For walks in the park or strolls after dark.”

It’s for a dress that costs £24.

The first thing almost anyone reading it thinks of is Sarah Everard, killed two years ago walking home in the dark from a friend’s house.

Sainsbury has pulled the ad and apologised after a backlash online and in print.

The Mail on Sunday said the supermarket was “accused of ignoring women’s safety”.

This is embarrassing to say the least, a PR clunker that the (very good) PR department had nothing to do with. They would surely have spotted the problem here from a mile away.

It is still difficult to see how this got through.

The ad was at point of sale, so fewer eyes were on it than for a formal campaign.

Still, plenty of people saw it before it went up.

And no one shouted: “Wait!”.

This feels like part of a wider issue with corporate culture that goes way beyond Sainsbury’s.

There is little incentive in big companies for being the person who disagrees.

So even those staff who thought the ad was awful assumed that someone higher up had approved it and decided there was nothing to gain from appearing difficult.

From where hacks sit, that’s the whole problem with the corporate world. That’s why it is so unappealing.

It’s not like newspapers don’t make mistakes, they do all the time. Jeremy Clarkson’s column on Meghan Markle was dreadful and it is difficult to see why no editor at The Sun spotted it prior to print and said “hang on”.

(Saying “hang on”, is pretty much what editors and to a lesser extent reporters are paid for.)

But The Sun is put together very quickly and Clarkson trades in insults for a living. It is his job to be offensive, albeit not quite that offensive.

One wonders whether he had so irritated the back bench at the paper that when they saw he was about to hang himself they thought, go right ahead.

The Sainsbury ad is different. Perhaps the lesson here is that the PR department needs to be asked about everything that’s public. When it isn’t, that’s when stuff goes wrong.

Press release of the day

A good point here from Barnet Waddingham about pay rises. Inflation might be biting hard, but:

“A silver lining here is that as wages rise, so too do pension contributions from both employees and employers. While many people have leant on their savings to keep up with the rising cost-of-living, there should be some relief that their often-unconsidered pension pot is rising without them noticing.”

Silver linings are welcome just now.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Does Burberry’s position in the luxury market make it immune from cost-of-living issues or not?

2) Why isn’t the Bank of Japan worried about inflation?

3) Is UK inflation still rising?

4) If the government gave all strikers exactly what they have asked for, what would the total bill be?


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