Tesco and Pyjama-gate

am not a Tesco fan. In fact, if I can avoid the store at all I do. Yet it is with a lot of glee that I’ve read the stories this week about Tesco imposing a ban on shoppers wearing pyjamas. The comments section of almost all the articles posted by various media outlets make for particularly good reading. In fact I’ve spent most of my morning reading this story instead of doing actual work, chuckling and pondering where the ‘Great’ in Great Britain has gone.

On the plus side,  I have at least managed to change out of my pyjamas, which is more than many Tesco shoppers apparently manage before heading out for their weekly shop.

So this has left me thinking, where does this rank from a PR point of view? It’s been so widely reported and tweeted and blogged about that it seems like a PR dream. A stunt worthy of an award. Thousands of people (if the comments boxes are anything to go by) are overjoyed at this news saying that they might now return to Tesco if the pyjama-wearing brigade are being made to clear out or dress appropriately. Tesco could become the new Waitrose as millions of  more sensibly dressed people head back in droves, no longer threatened by the sight of penguin pjs and fluffy slippers.

On the other hand, could Tesco be driving away their loyal customer base, enraged by yet more policies imposed by the supermarket behemoth? As one mother was quoted in the Daily Mail, “I won’t be bothering with Tesco anymore, I’m off to Aldi”. I suggest that the Aldi management might want to crank up the refrigeration in their chilled aisles so that the PJ wearers are forced to cover up with a dressing gown at least.

On balance, I reckon this has been a PR coup for Tesco. Sure they might be driving customers into the arms of competitors, but I think that the bulk of the British population will love them for it. Creating a better dressed Britain might become part of its corporate social responsibility programme, helping to preserve all that is good and proper. After all, when it comes to eroding standards, Every Little Helps.

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