Rebecca Binks, senior account manager, Clarion Communications
I read an article in the Daily Mail recently about how Asda inappropriately complained to suppliers using the Union flag on their packaging amid fears it might offend customers in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Er, hang on - aren’t both countries represented by the flag? Like many of the manufacturers who received the crazy email, I was a little confused.
Although the supermarket has since apologised for its outburst, did it truly think the two countries wouldn’t be partaking in the Olympic and Jubilee BRITISH celebrations?
The piece prompted some internet digging and I found that others are also sending out similar warnings: unless the association with ‘brand Britain’ goes deeper than a logo, or Union flag on the packaging, the government warns that ‘brands which exploit the patriotism swelling from this summer’s celebrations, without building it into a deeper strategy, are missing the point’.
I beg to differ. Why shouldn’t brands be allowed to be patriotic once in a while and relish in this marketing opportunity? It isn’t often that such huge events take place in a single summer. Okay, so Tabasco’s diamond encrusted red, white and blue limited-edition packaging might be taking it a step too far, and splashing Union flags, sporting icons and diamonds across everything might not be the best long-term strategy, but if done well it could work.
In my opinion, brands shouldn’t be too modest - they should pull out the British trump card with confidence.