With Alan Hansen signed up at Morrison’s, Jamie Oliver representing chicken giants Sainsbury’s, and ‘food porn’ in the shape of M&S advertising, high street supermarkets are busy fighting for consumer footfall. PR’s role in all this is interesting; just like a high profile interview with a CEO from a big corporate, PRs can also impress journalists with access to tomorrow’s ‘must have’ items before they hit the shelves. This week I encountered one High Street supermarket who in PR = ROI terms, are making expensive mistakes.
In the February edition of Decanter magazine, M&S were awarded three gold stars for a wine from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux, produced by Châteaux Moulinet. This is no small feat and the wine (priced reasonably at £18) is surrounded by expensive wines stocked by famous wine merchants. That a high street supermarket can compete with the quality of Corney and Barrow etc on the pages of specialist wine magazine, is a real coup.
Imagine my disappointment then when taking a copy of my trusty magazine I headed to the M&S on Oxford Street only to find the wine missing from their shelves. An enquiry to a sales assistant was met with a blank start and I soon had the M&S wine ordering sheet in front of me and was told to look for it myself. Still no luck. “ok”, I said to myself, “ this is the February edition and we are still in January, I’ll ring the head office.”
M&S head office claimed never to have heard of the wine, and also hadn’t seen Decanter magazine (despite the fact it’s been out for half a month). They tried to sell me a case of Champagne before telling me that I should try my local store.
Exasperated, I give up.
What is the point of your PR team building a relationship with a key consumer magazine, if your sales team and CRM system isn’t sophisticated enough able to capitalise and close the sale?
All in all, a wasted opportunity.