Biscuits and Bad Publicity


I’m going to digress slightly here on go off on an uncharacteristic rant. Feel free to skip ahead to Friday if you wish, when I might start series 4 of Re-Dwarf.

It is sad but true fact that I have a biscuit problem. I know, I don’t seem the type, but that’s the nature of biscuits; it’s a more common problem than you might think. Anyway, there it is; it’s just another thing I deal with on a daily basis.

And in the process of dealing with this problem, I have start to support, or at least follow, various groups which exist to support recovering biscuit addicts, and to help those leaving the biscuit factories to go on and lead full and productive lives outside of the snackfood industry.

The reason I mention this now is that one such group, which we shall refer to as The English Addiction to Biscuits Awareness Group (TEABAG) has recently scored what I think to be something of an own goal.

Without getting into the details, a couple of new biscuit brands have come onto the market recently; one in particular has had quite a media frenzy over it recently, it turns out. Much of this has been of the typical Daily Mail ‘look at this new biscuit it’s really bad for you it will make your children have cancer and by the way they’re half price in Asda’ variety, which of course purports to be bad publicity but only serves to point out the existence of the biscuit, and if you’re predisposed towards biscuits anyway you don’t care that it kills kittens, you want to try this new biscuit, especially if you’re bored of custard creams and can’t afford Jammy Dodgers.
Which is fine, as I don’t read the Daily Mail for more or less that reason; however, this particular biscuit, like another before it, came to my attention by way of TEABAG. Doing the exact same thing.

Perhaps I’m being over-sensitive, but it seems to me that if even part of your stated purpose as an organisation is to help people like me give up biscuits, it’s probably not a good idea to put a press release for this new brand in my facebook news feed on a Monday morning. It doesn’t matter that you were actually linking to and your own (no doubt valid) views of how bad this new biscuit is and how it gives kittens cancer; I did not know this biscuit existed until you told me.

It doesn’t matter that you only showed the biscuit in its wrapper. You didn’t need to show it at all. You didn’t need to tell TEABAG supporters that biscuits make people fat and are making people fatter all the time – we already know biscuits are bad. You can tell us biscuits are getting worse without showing us the delicious jam and cream filled centre (even in its wrapper).

You may well say that these biscuits were all over the internet and social media, and that may well be true, but they weren’t in my social media – until you put them there.

I don’t care how good your intentions were; if I were in a weaker place, and able to get to Asda when I saw that piece from TEABAG, I would have tried to get the biscuit. I daresay others did just that; there is no such thing as bad publicity. There is, however, such a thing as badly placed publicity. Most Daily Mail readers, I’m sure, would have shared the moral outrage at this new biscuit, and resolved not to shop at Asda until they had stopped selling them.
Digestive_biscuitsTEABAG followers, however… well, as I can testify myself, TEABAG probably did the biscuit makers a great favour by highlighting the existence of this new kind of biscuit to just the sort of audience who need a new kind of snack.

Sticking that in their facebook feed was akin to leaving flyers for the local off licence lying around at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Unintentional, maybe; but plainly ridiculous.

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