Tesco needs to douse horse meat story to escape brand hit

Tesco: forced to withdraw a number of beef burgers
Tesco: forced to withdraw a number of beef burgers

Tesco will be able to ride out this horse meat crisis, just as long as its an isolated incident and the retailer is able to communicate its response quickly, according to marketing experts.

The retailer has been forced to withdraw a number of beef burgers from its shelves after tests showed samples contained horse DNA.

The withdrawal is likely to cause some harm to the Tesco brand in the short-time, although some experts believe it is unlikely to be long-lived.

Tesco today responded to the crisis with a statement, saying it "will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell."

It is unclear at this stage if Tesco will take further action, such as running ads clarifying the situation. Here two experts give their verdict on the fallout of the incident and how Tesco is best handling it.

Tim Hill, development director, The Brand UnionTim Hill, development director, The Brand Union

"What a shame for Tesco, Aldi and Iceland to suffer the scandal of finding traces of horse meat in their beef burgers. If only their buyer and product marketing teams had better planned. Perhaps it missed the opportunity to build the horse meat burger, after all it’s one of the most nutritious meats on the planet.

"In all seriousness however, will this latest scandal affect the Tesco brand and turn off consumers from shopping at their stores? In isolation no - their in-house crisis management team are already in overdrive and it's unlikely the story on its own won’t linger too long in consumer’s minds. However, the danger will be if this story unearths further tales of poor hygiene standards and a lack of quality control.

"For Tesco’s stake, this has to be an isolated incident otherwise it could be a label that will take a long time to shake. Just look at the years McDonalds has spent on trying to dispel the myths around the quality of its own burgers.

Justin Basini, an ex-Capital One marketing director and founder of Allow, a service which helps consumers gain control of their personal informationJustin Basini

"There is no category of product that relies more heavily on trust than what we put in our mouths. However the major trust impact will be felt in the generic burger product category rather than at the retail brand level.

"Will you ever go to that barbeque again without a passing thought to the mix of meat you are consuming? The lingering aftermath for Tesco, Aldi and the other retailers will be determined by how they respond now. You can bet your bottom dollar that processed foods from many categories are now in labs being tested for cross contamination.

"Without an effective programme of investigation, communication and resolution the problem will spiral out of control allowing lobby groups from organic producers to Muslims to expose further problems, stoke the issue with the media and aggressively demand knee jerk change all of which will cement mistrust in these brands."

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers