#Marmitegate is showing us the first signs of the effects of Brexit on the High Street – well, the supermarket shelves actually – as Unilever defend their decision to raise prices in light of a fall in the value of sterling and Tesco react by taking its products off the shelves or, to be less polite, throwing its products out of the pram.
It’s a real PR tester for business, post Brexit and the first in which a British supermarket has defended its actions directly to the general public. It’s a tricky one to manage but if we were at the helm of the ship, we would have to come down on the side of the manufacturer. Long before Brexit, Tesco had locked horns with British milk producers, with farmers in the UK and Europe and with small-scale producers of individual products all over the world. As a former supermarket leader, it prides itself of achieving low prices – but at what cost?
Marmite is made in the Midlands, 6,000 tonnes of the stuff each year, all coming from one single factory. Almost 30 jars of Marmite are sold every minute and it’s consumed both in our kitchens at home and used in high end restaurants. It’s a marvel that a business that has managed to stay afloat for 114 years is still, well, in business. I think it’s safe to say that there is definitely more love than hate for Marmite.
So why is Tesco the baddie? Recently polling consumers on the streets of the UK to ask what they thought about the British milk industry going down the (milk) pan, most people said they would pay more for their milk if the cost was directly passed on to the producer. Yet despite this support for our ailing farmers, Tesco continue to try to drive prices down. In an age where inflation affects just about every other facet of life, this behemoth of the supermarket industry thinks that prices should remain the same, even rolling back prices to previous eras as a marketing ploy.
“Tesco, stop!” we say. Rethink your PR strategy. Show people why they should #PayMoreforMarmite. Let’s take the workers of the famous Burton on Trent factory onto the streets and treat the passing public to toast and soldiers. Let’s start a campaign on Twitter and Instagram to show how we like to eat our Marmite – all together now, grab your kids, oldies, soldiers, actors, pop stars, politicians, authors and wannabies:
Let’s get our nation’s favourite chefs to reveal their use of Marmite.
Let’s create a Facebook campaign to support the #PayMoreforMarmite campaign.
Let’s make it national policy that iconic brands should be protected no matter what.
Let’s get a leading newspaper (The Sun) behind the campaign.
Let’s all love Marmite just a little more and show Tesco that some brands won’t be dismissed so lightly.
Yours, 24 fingers. ‘Cos we’re lovers, not haters.