Robert Frische's picture

Only Fools Eat Horses

Findus lasagne

The horsemeat scandal rumbles on and on with new developments being found every day.

Scandals provide unique challenges to advertisers - if you sell readymade meals like lasagne then you will have had a hard time shifting trays in the current climate.

However, some companies will have done well out of the scandal. Supermarkets with high priced meats may have found justification to say “you pay more for quality and it’s worth it.”

Morrisons'  were delighted to run ad campaigns pointing out that it was impossible for Morrison’s fresh meat to become contaminated because they have their own abattoirs and hand select all the meat themselves. As a result Morrison’s saw an 18% rise in the sale of their fresh meats since the scandal broke, which are amazing numbers by anyone’s standards.  

The issue here is trust, and if you lose consumer trust through poor products there is no marketing campaign in the world that can get that back for you. McDonald’s was a good example of this – after Morgan Spurlock nearly killed himself on screen for Supersize Me the hamburger chain was forced to re-evaluate its product and stock healthier options.

The best marketing is born organically out of identifying the qualities of an organisation and highlighting these to the market. If your selling point is being cheap you can also do well out of this unless the products let you down.

No matter how much we value economy no-one wants to risk eating dodgy meat and maybe this scandal is necessary to shift attitudes.  How can we prioritise luxury goods such as cars and iPhones over our groceries when our very health is at stake?

As one local butcher in Stokes Croft put it so aptly on a sign outside his store – Only Fools Eat Horses!