Blog: Tesco hoping for Czech footie success

Catherine Sleep | 30 June 2004

Many UK retailers cashed in on the England football team’s run in Euro 2004, but it’s those that spread their wings further afield who stand to gain most. Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco group director, corporate affairs, yesterday recounted how sales of beer, convenience food and, encouragingly, prepared salads, soared each time the England team played in the championship as fans got ready to settle in and watch the match.

England’s run came to an end last Thursday, so Tesco is now hoping that the Czech team makes it to the final, as the company’s Czech operation is experiencing a similar uplift on match days. Speaking at Food & Beverage 2004, organised by Strategic Business Events, Neville-Rolfe also related how Czech store staff had to be taught to maintain eye contact with customers and grace them with the occasional smile, apparently not the norm in the Czech Republic. But perhaps smiling is done for different reasons over there, not to express courtesy but genuine pleasure, and seems weird or even insincere to shoppers.

This reminded me of when US chains Gap and later Disney opened stores in the UK; I found the door greeters’ cheery “Hi there!” frankly off-putting, and most of the kids hired as greeters were clearly embarrassed by it all too. We’re a little more comfortable with it now.

Another interesting titbit I found out at yesterday’s conference was that 3663, formerly Booker Foodservice, was thus named because if you text in those numbers on your mobile phone, you get the word ‘food’. Interesting. I discovered you also get ‘done’, ‘fond’ and ‘dome’.

What really raised laughs at the conference was a preview of a ‘Real Honest Food’ poster campaign advertised by the Ginsters Cornish pasty company. Splashed right across the poster are the words “Will only aid weight loss if you get off your backside occasionally”.

Whoever’s handling their advertising is doing a great job. Click the link below to see some of Ginsters’ other humorous ads.

Real Honest Food


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