So Greggs the bakers is getting the Eliza Doolittle treatment. The high street snackerie famous for its pies, pasties and pastries has announced that it’s going posh to broaden its appeal. The bakers, which began life in the North East in the 1960s, is giving its London stores a makeover – wooden floors and moody lighting – to tempt its target white-collar customers into tucking into this week’s flavoursome star buy sticky toffee muffin or lunching on a steak-filled pasty and yum yum combo.
The firm’s chief executive, Ken McMeikan, says the changes will enhance the buying experience of all customers from “barristers to builders” as the company competes against the likes of Starbucks and Pret A Manger.
Of course, Greggs is not the first brand to attempt to refashion itself. Skoda, once the object of mirth among car drivers, was taken over by Volkswagen in the 1990s and, while cleverly satirising its own image for nerdiness, carefully built a reputation for reliability and affordability. Skoda now tags itself “the manufacturer of happy drivers” and boasts that 98 per cent of Skoda owners would probably recommend them to a friend. We are presumably expected to skim over the word ‘probably’, but you get the drift.
It is not just cars and shops that can get the sort of facelift that would make Mickey Rourke envious. Blackpool, once the go to destination for hen parties, is now billing itself as a cultural hub, must-see visitor attraction and conference host for the working classes. It has done so in a very imaginative and witty promotional video that applies some French polish to a destination which now attracts 13 million visitors a year.
According to Natalie Wyatt, Head of visitBlackpool, the aim of the video, which shows a young French woman waiting listlessly in a restaurant, was to encourage visitors to take a fresh look at Blackpool and highlight the resort’s attractions.
She said: “We have received many positive comments from journalists, visitors and locals and I am certain that our increased visitor numbers are thanks, in part, to new visitors coming to try a spot of ‘otpot and a glass of champagne after viewing the ad!”
Champagne and ‘otpot – sounds like a new menu option for Greggs.