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Typhoo tea under fire over fake ‘customers’ hired to lobby Sainsbury’s

Tea brand Typhoo has been accused of instigating a storm in a teacup after it emerged that the firms marketing agency, Intelligent Marketing Solutions, had employed fake shoppers to lobby Sainsbury’s to stock its goods.

It is alleged that paid field workers to pose as ordinary customers at Sainsbury’s supermarkets where Typhoo had been removed from shelves and ask for its return, boosting the brands apparent popularity.

The army of hired shoppers were also I instructed to lobby the supermarket chain via Twitter, Facebook, email, letter and phone in an attempt to force it to change its decision.

An email allegedly sent to IMS customers read: “We have been asked by our client to contact Sainsbury’s by the following methods [email, Facebook etc] to ask why they no longer stock Typhoo tea in a specific store (the stores will be listed) and to ask if this product can be restocked.

“Rates of pay are £1.50 per call, with the exception of the letter and telephone assignment, which are paid at £2.50.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We always aim to offer our customers a choice and we do stock Typhoo tea in some of our stores. But from time to time we have to remove lines so that we can increase the availability of the products that are the most popular with our customers.”

It is unclear whether Typhoo directly instructed IMS to issue the email however.

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