British politics was again in the spotlight as the UK Prime Minister Liz Truss stepped down from her role, just 44 days after being sworn into office — making her premiership, the shortest-lived of any Prime Minister in history.
As the resignation of her predecessor demonstrated, it isn’t uncommon for brands to leap into the fray during political events like this and make wry observations, jokes, or references that tie into their offering or sync well with their brand identity.
While delving into politics can sometimes be a risky business, brands could rely on a rare moment of national unity; Truss was an almost universally disliked figurehead during her short stay in number 10 — liked by just 18% of voters — she held the ignoble record of being the “least-popular UK prime minister in the history of polling."
So the resignation of Liz Truss offered brands a relatively safe moment to get their business in the spotlight and, just as with Boris Johnson, there were a range of reactions across social media. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
If you saw brands reacting to the news with a wry reference to lettuce, you would be forgiven for being a little bit confused. What does lettuce have to do with the British Prime Minister?
Tabloid publication, the Daily Star was inspired by an article in The Economist magazine which predicted that Ms Truss’ time in the top job of British politics had “the shelf life of a lettuce.” The PM’s dire polling, lack of support from MPs and the consequences of her mini-budget all conspired to create a perfect storm that many commentators felt could not be recovered from.
The Daily Star ran with this comparison between the PM and a lettuce, by setting up a live YouTube feed, showing a 60 pence Lettuce perched next to a photo of Liz Truss, posing the question: can Lizz Truss outlast a lettuce?
On 20th October, when it transpired that, in fact, no, the PM could not outlast a lettuce, The Daily Star’s stunt blew up, summarizing as it did, the farcical nature of the situation.
Supermarket brands Lidl and Aldi both led with lettuce references, receiving thousands of favorites in the process, while grocery delivery service Deliveroo offered to send the Tabloid another Lettuce for the next Prime Minister in waiting.
Innocent Drinks also referenced lettuces in their response, while Scottish beer brand BrewDog referenced their own penchant for brewing novelty batches in response to the news, while also nodding to renewed calls for a general election.
Not all brands decided to reference the victorious head of lettuce in their response. Ryanair’s reaction related the news to their own brand offering, with a personalized boarding pass just for the outgoing Prime Minister.
Not content with just a single response to the news, they quickly followed up with another tweet that read:
“Liz Truss 🤝 Ryanair
25 minute turnaround”
Rival budget airline easyJet also responded, using the news to promote flights to continental Europe as low as £29.99.
Another brand that used the news to highlight low price points was Thomas Cook, which jumped on the opportunity to draw attention to “short stays from £159PP”
Period-tracking app, Clue, tied the news into their product offering by focusing on the short tenure of the outgoing prime minister — shorter than a menstrual cycle — providing them with an opportunity to show off their UX.
Finally UK phone providor o2 also subtly referenced the news in order to speak about the ease with which consumers can switch contracts.
The tumultuous nature of British politics has given many brands an opportunity to gain relevance and connect with consumers without having to worry about causing offence or upsetting supporters of particularly political parties.
Though brands don’t have to choose a side, there’s big rewards for those that can make consumers feel their values are being reflected. 60% of consumers in the UK are more likely to purchase from a brand that does this — but as we know, values differ from person to person and appealing to one individual’s sensibilities might offend another.
Here then, brands were able to deliver a message that could resonate with consumers’ sense of frustration, without having to commit to a particular political message or pick a side in the fray.
Main Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/2nazSAc