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Waitrose causes Cotswold strife while Jaguar leaps ahead

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By Andy Barr, Head Yeti

January 16, 2013 | 5 min read

Before we get going on this week’s column, let’s take a moment to say goodbye to Jessops. At the time of writing, all we know is that the administrators have closed all of the stores and it is not known if a buyer will be found to resurrect the camera brand and save jobs.

Overzealous Waitrose has upset those nice people of the Cotswolds

A group of us Yetis went into our local store to try and pick over the bones and bag a bargain and we were confronted with one of the reasons why the brand struggled: it just could not compete, price wise, with online brands.

Memory cards were twice the price of the equivalent products on Amazon and there is simply no way that a high street store can replicate the virtually limitless display that an online shop can command.

So goodbye dear friend and kudos to the comms team for doing such a professional job right up until the end. It is clear that they had their work cut out, yet it was all handled with dignity and class.

I was massively surprised to see another huge brand losing dignity and class points recently - my favourite Christmas trade-up supermarket, Waitrose.

As I say, Waitrose is a Christmas-only shop for me (I am not made of money) but they have caused a real stink, and no doubt lost a few customers among the great and good of the region in which I live, the Cotswolds.

The reason relates to the area’s classiest and most polite magazine, Cotswold Life, offenders of none and read by those in the know around these parts, largely for its informative pieces on local country living and also its hugely entertaining columns.

Now, in recent times, one such columnist made a few very humorous, and hugely obvious, tongue-in-cheek comments about Waitrose and its produce and goods.

I can only presume that the Christmas rush caused a meltdown in the Waitrose head office and alongside this a sense of humour failure, because the next edition of my county’s finest title was blighted with an obviously placed statement extolling the virtues of Waitrose and how the offending column was all kinds of wrong.

Surely the Waitrose comms team should have stepped in and got the legal eagles to wind-their-necks in, or at least tried to nip it in the bud?

Sadly, and showing far greater dignity than the supermarket giant, Cotswold Life would not get involved when I asked them what had happened. I am fairly confident, though, that the red trouser brigade may well protest with their feet and head off to the brand new Whole Foods store that has recently opened in Cheltenham.

Finally, Corporate PR Winners of the Week has to go the Jaguar Land Rover (Tata owned I believe) communications team.

Fresh on the back of revealing how their Land Rover ranges were doing the kinds of sales levels that would make Sir Lord Alan of Sugar (what do we call him nowadays?) proud, they went and gave a boost to the Midlands economy with a job creation announcement.

The luxury car brand is about to unleash 800 new Brummie based 4x4 fiddlers upon Solihul. This reminds me…

I and four friends (PRs have friends) once went on a Land Rover experience day and were greeted at the gates by a Hackett-clad gent who asked “are you gentlemen here to drive some cars?”

We sheepishly replied with a mumbled “yes”, to which he came back with the now legendary line: “Well, we don’t have any cars here gentlemen, just Land Rovers.” Four grown men instantly fell in love with that man.

See you next week, and don’t forget, if you have any corporate PR gossip, drop me a DM on The Twitter. (see, I am down with the yoof)

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