Nowadays it’s unusual to see any public figure (other than sportsmen) actively promote products or services. The rationale being that it may be taken as showing favouritism, or endorsing, or (perish the thought) advertising. Of course the press will happily inform their readers that the Duchess of Cambridge has “… chosen to wear a dress from Alexander McQueen with footwear from LK Bennett …” but you don’t see Kate turning to the cameras, pointing to the shoes and mouthing “LK Bennett” do you?
So it must have been a huge encouragement to the Shepherd Neame campaign this past week to have their product being given so much prominence on national networks when Nigel Farage openly endorsed his favourite ale, Spitfire. The much talked about politician who caused such an upset in the local elections was given a lot more coverage than even he anticipated. Certainly the likes of “Call me Dave,” “Ed” and “Cleggy” were probably rueing the fact that they hadn’t been quite so open and frank about their beverage of choice in the past – or maybe the cameras just weren’t on them much. In any case, the scrambling that Shepherd Neame had been doing to boost their sales since March was certainly given a shot in the arm that even comedians Armstrong & Miller couldn’t predict.
After all that happened last week it may seem to some that politics is a bit like running a pub. You have locals (the electorate) who you want in your pub (the party) and get them to spend their money (votes). You do all types of things to entice them in to your place – specials, 2-4-1’s, theme dinners etc. And even though you might have a pretty full place at times, they don’t all buy what you have on offer. And, like politics, to know what to stock and how to make your place profitable, you need the help of professional specialists in the field. Rutters specialize in making their clients the best they can be with strategies, advice and feedback. Successful establishments, like any of the Greene King or the Golden Lion Groups use the services of professionals, like Jon Rutter and his team, to ensure their continued success.
If any of the leaders of the “main” parties popped in to any successful pub and had a quiet word with the landlord, they’d probably be told how the landlord stays on top of things and how he works with his professional advisers. But of course getting the advice and acting on it are two different things. You can take a horse to water … well, you know the rest.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising for publicans to notice an upswing in the orders of “I’ll have a Spitfire, please …” as the new councillors pop down to their local to celebrate their positions on local boards (you’d also probably find that many of them had already had a quiet word with the landlord before the elections, but they seem to have actually followed his advice).