Reluctantly, it seems that the Â£6.5 million-a-year American-born chief executive of Burberry, Rose Marie Bravo, has decided that fighting a war against chavs is unwinnable. And, as the expression goes: if you can’t beat them, join them — or at least appear to side with them, especially if your brand’s future depends on damage limitation.
As chavs adopted the Burberry check as part of their uniform, sales of Burberry goods in the UK have reportedly reduced by around 40%. Some shops have even considered removing Burberry goods from sale. Burberry attempt to shrug this off by saying that UK sales only account for around 10% of their global sales.
So, if we said that chavs have caused 4% to be wiped off the Burberry books, then it wouldn’t appear to be a catastophe, right? However, now with the internet, people all round the world can see the “chav effect” on the brand, and this could further damage global sales of Burberry products.
“Brand owners like Burberry work hard to develop brand associations which fit closely with the image they wish to create. Associations of Burberry with chavs, Danniella Westbrook and ferrets are definitely not among those sought by the company”. See Business Briefs: Checks and chavs.
Thus it appears that Burberry boss, Rose Marie Bravo, has decided that the best policy for damage limitation is to laugh off the whole affair by making the whole thing sound insignificant and a passing fad. In January 2005 she said that “…the distinctive beige, black and red plaid will continue to feature prominently in the new 2005 season and beyond.” (See Burberry boss reaches out to chavs)
Well it appears that Bravo’s idea in January of continuing the use of the Burberry check had taken a sudden U-turn:
- “They have since had to discontinue the now infamous Burberry baseball cap – a chav favourite – and have reduced the number of Burberry products that display their classic plaid to just 15%, since photographs of Daniella Westbrook and her baby wearing head-to-toe Burberry were printed.” — See here.
- BURBERRY has axed its check pattern baseball cap loved by football hooligans and thugs. Determined to shed the lout image, the up-market brand has cleared shelves and halted manufacture of the Â£50 hat. Confirming the move, Burberry refused to say why the decision had been taken. But a worker at the company’s factory in Castleford, West Yorks, said: “The caps have been discontinued because of their association with soccer hooliganism.” See here.
As if dropping the baseball cap wasn’t enough of a U-turn, the new fashion range from Burberry apparently moves away from the classic Burberry check, by toning down its usage.