Government preps campaign urging brands to slash prices by cutting marketing

The taxpayer-funded campaign will encourage brands to divert marketing spend into cutting prices, with businesses introducing such measures invited to add the campaign name and logo to their branding.

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The government is set to launch a campaign aimed at getting businesses to divert marketing spend into cutting prices to help mitigate the cost of living crisis.

Launching in early July, the taxpayer-funded campaign will seek to “amplify and channel” the efforts of brands looking to curb rising costs, encouraging other companies to follow suit, the BBC reports. It is thought businesses which agree to introduce cost-cutting measures will be able to add the campaign name and logo to their branding.

The slogan, which is reportedly still in the works, looks likely to promote a message of helping out in tough times, cutting prices for consumers using money brands “would otherwise use on marketing.”

This message chimes in with comments made last week by the newly appointed cost of living tsar, Just Eat co-founder David Buttress, who urged brands to “refocus” marketing spend in a bid to bring prices down for consumers.

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Speaking to business leaders on Monday evening, Buttress cited examples of schemes he believes work well, from apps selling discounted food that would otherwise go to waste, to Gregg’s move to offer free breakfast to some school children.

According to the BBC, Buttress also identified four points in the year when businesses could introduce price cuts – summer holidays, the start of the new school term, rising inflation in the autumn and Christmas time.

A government source told the BBC no additional funding will be provided to help brands slash prices. The plans have been branded a “slap in the face” for SMEs, with the Federation of Small Businesses telling the BBC the notion struggling firms can “soak up” the additional costs “isn’t realistic”.

Today the BRC NielsenIQ shop price index revealed prices in UK shops have hit their highest rate of inflation since 2008, amid surging supply chain costs and contracting consumer spending.

UK retail prices are up 3.1% on June last year and up from 2.8% last month. Food inflation surged to 5.6% in June, with the highest price rises seen for fresh food – up 6.2% on June last year.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson points to the impact of inflation reaching a 40-year high of 9.1% in May, as measured by the consumer price index. She notes food prices, particularly for fresh foods such as cheese, have been affected by the “spiralling costs of fertiliser and animal feed.”

According to Dickinson, retailers are seeking to “absorb as much of these costs pressures as possible” and chase efficiencies in their own businesses, with supermarkets expanding value ranges to provide a wider choice for shoppers “trading down” and offering discounts to vulnerable customers.

However, Dickinson did say that if costs continue to spiral it will be up to the government to find ways to help retail businesses support their customers.