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Tweeters Mischievously Give Their #WaitroseReasons for Choosing ‘posh’ Supermarket

Posted on the 20 September 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
#WaitroseReasons campaign backfires on upmarket supermarket. #WaitroseReasons campaign backfires on upmarket supermarket.

The background

In a bid to get customers talking about why they choose their stores, Waitrose launched the Twitter hashtag #WaitroseReasons this week.

Among those reasons, evidently, are not wanting to shop with the “unwashed masses”, because food is obviously better if it costs three times as much, and because where else can you buy larks’ tongues?

The campaign went viral, but primarily because most of the responses were amusing references to the supermarket’s reputation as an upper-middle-class choice, rather than tributes to their customer service or product quality. Most people do see Waitrose as a posh shop; after all they have Royal approval and can count the Duchess of Cambridge among their customers. Still, the company has made recent attempts to portray themselves as an affordable option, including price-matching Tesco with their branded products, and all this micky-taking has done little to help.

Or has it?

#WaitroseReasons: Because they stock larks’ tongues and organic Faberge eggs

Many tweeters had fun with the company’s invitation to finish the sentence ‘I shop at Waitrose because…’ Here are some of their offerings:

I shop at Waitrose because I hate poor people. #WaitroseReasons

— Jill Tyrell (@TyrellJill) September 20, 2012


I shop at @waitrose because I can’t bear to drink my gin without an earl gray infusion #waitrosereasons…

— Bethan Harris (@bethanjharris) September 20, 2012

I shop at Waitrose because Clarrisa’s pony just WILL NOT eat ASDA Value straw #waitrosereasons

— Nic Stevenson (@nicstevenson) September 17, 2012

I shop at Waitrose because Tesco doesn’t stock Unicorn food #waitrosereasons

— inkognitoh (@inkognitoh) September 17, 2012


#waitrosereasonsone shops atwaitrose as one has no inclination to peruse the aisles with the great unwashed of society in budget foodhalls

— louise richards (@patslide) <a href=”

I shop at Waitrose because it seems entirely possible that all the cashiers are educated to at least a postgraduate level. #WaitroseReasons

— Lynch (@lynchhau5) September 20, 2012

patslide/status/248729874615894016″>September 20, 2012

#waitrosereasonsone shops atwaitrose as one has no inclination to peruse the aisles with the great unwashed of society in budget foodhalls

— louise richards (@patslide) September 20, 2012

Why do I shop at Waitrose? Golly Gosh!I leave that to my servants #waitrosereasons

— Peter L R Smith (@plrsmith) September 20, 2012


“Put that papaya down, Orlando!” has, however, won the day, with Twitter users suggesting that the phrase will soon be appearing on T-shirts.

There was also the occasional tweet from a genuinely satisfied customer, but the vast majority struck a far more cynical tone.

#waitrosereasons Their staff are very polite and welcoming unlike other large supermarkets. Sorry but stroppy staff are a a turn off.

— Samantha van Dalen (@londonsouffle) September 20, 2012


A publicity disaster?

Twitter has been full of claims that this represents a naïve marketing mistake. Martin Robinson of the Daily Mail agreed, arguing that the hashtag had “spectacularly backfired”.

Or a canny marketing strategy?
But, as Rebecca Smithers of the Guardian reported, there are questions as to whether Waitrose’s social media strategy could be seen as “hugely successful because of all the attention it attracted”. Some tweeters agreed, arguing that it had created valuable publicity for the brand:

#waitrosereasons – a clever campaign which has managed to get everyone to reinforce Waitrose brand values at minimal cost #impact

— JasonWoodford (@JasonAEWoodford) September 20, 2012


Waitrose themselves certainly seem to be seeing it in this light:

Thanks again for all the #waitrosereasons tweets. We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.

— Waitrose(@waitrose) September 20, 2012


Waitrose got off lightly

Despite the mixed response, things could certainly have gone worse Waitrose. One of the most well-known examples of a misjudged social media initiative was the McDonald’s hashtag #McDstories that caught on back in January. The Telegraph  described how tweeters mischievously used the tag to tell their own horror stories, including “customers vomiting, people finding fingernails in their food and suffering stomach problems”. It was such an unmistakable failure that even Rick Wion, the company’s own social media director, “admitted that the campaign backfired”. All things considered, Waitrose have got off rather lightly.

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  • #McDstories fails spectacularly

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