Tesco has lost at least one customer as a result of the News of the World scandal: Labour MP Chris Bryant won’t be shopping there this evening. Sadly, thegrocer.co.uk is not exclusively revealing this news. We know this because he said so on Twitter a couple of hours ago.
“Just decided I’m not doing my weekly shop in Tesco this evening following their decision to continue advertising with [the News of the World],” Bryant told his legion of almost 7,000 followers.
In the short-term, the likely beneficiary of this will be either Asda or Morrisons, as Bryant subsequently tweeted that there’s no Sainsbury’s in the Rhondda, the area of Wales he represents.
Bryant’s comments have been mirrored by countless other users – and were also re-tweeted ‘100-plus’ times, which is where the micro-blogging site stops counting. Meanwhile, the aptly named @cantankerously tweeted Philip Clarke directly.
“Disgraceful decision regarding News International,” he blasted, adding in 140 characters or fewer that he regarded the Tesco board as “spineless” and “shameless”. Others, in less visceral terms, have said the retailer is out of touch with public opinion.
Clarke’s most recent tweet, from yesterday, explains that he’s only just back from China. It’s some homecoming.
Elsewhere, neither Morrisons or – contrary to some media reports – Asda had plans to advertise in the embattled organ this weekend, sparing them the dilemma.
“We understand people’s concerns and reiterate that we have no plans to advertise in the News of the World,” Asda said. “In fact, we’re not a big spender on advertising in the News of the World or, indeed, any Sunday paper. In this calendar year we have only spent around £34,000 on advertisements in the News of the World.”
The Co-operative Group, whose marketing is founded on its ethical stance, belatedly got around to backing a boycott yesterday – but only after uproar among its members forced a U-turn.
And while Sainsbury’s today said it wouldn’t be advertising in the paper until further notice, it candidly admitted the move was “due to the rising concerns of our customers” rather than through some spiritual revelation in the boardroom.
Of course, the truth is that anyone who actually buys a copy of the News of the World this weekend won’t give a monkey’s who advertises in it. And its rates will probably be in bargain-basement territory too.
We’ll have an in-depth look at how all the supermarkets have weathered the media storm in Saturday’s edition of The Grocer. Don’t forget the digital edition goes online tomorrow afternoon for all you online subscribers.