Blog: Nasty niffs

Catherine Sleep | 3 August 2004

It seems we Brits have managed to offend some of our fellow Europeans. Again. The London Underground system, AKA the Tube, ran a poster campaign requesting passengers kindly to refrain from eating smelly foods. The sound reason behind the campaign is that travelling on the Tube is already hot, crowded and smelly enough; why exacerbate the situation?

However, the bright spark who created the campaign came up with a poster showing a fat (are we still allowed to use that word?) Mediterranean-looking man surrounded by salamis and garlic – and this prompted an angry reaction from the Italian ambassador, among other dignitaries and commoners. So there you have it. You just can’t be too careful these days, can you?

Mind you, it really can be annoying when marketing bods in other countries pick out the very worst aspect of your national image and use it to represent you. Years ago, when I lived in France, I remember heading with excitement to my local Monoprix store, as it was having a ‘Semaine anglaise’, during which it would highlight British food products.

What was the flagship product they’d managed to come up with? Heinz Baked Beans. They’re fine, but Heinz is American for a start, and where were all the lovely fresh products? Where were Stilton and Cheddar? Where elderflower cordial? Where were pork pies and where, oh where, were crisps in a rich variety of flavours? I soon stomped out in disgust (although not before buying a few cans of beans, natch).

Salami stinker


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