Getting our knickers in a twist13th April 2012
Who would have thought that you could depict the state of our country by simply using a pair of knickers!
With import costs on the up, Mary Portas has decided that she (with eight employees) will show us how easy it is to turn the country around; whilst at the same time sorting out the problem of youth unemployment. It is quite a massive task that she has taken on and one which leaves the viewer questioning whether she will succeed.
The first episode focused on the sorry state of the manufacturing industry in Britain and the terrible unemployment figures that we see reported in the media.
If you can get past Mary’s, shall we say, ‘interesting’ outfits (particularly the garish gold number she wears at the fashion shows in Paris) the programme’s whole purpose is not about knickers after all. Instead it is about restoring the pride and faith that we have in our country’s produce and showing that we don’t need to rely on cheap overseas products.
Mary Portas’ vision is one that we share here at Flagship: the power of persuasive conversations. For Mary to sell her knickers it is not about where the people who made them came from, but whether she can make the public understand that by buying British they are helping the economy and their country.
Mary’s tough task comes in changing our shopping behaviour to think about origin before price. I’m not going to lie, I love a bargain. There’s nothing better than knowing that you’ve saved money on something. There is a feeling among shoppers of getting one up on the manufacturers and retailers who overprice their goods. And let’s face it, a war is developing against the overpriced shops – take for example group buying sites like Wowcher where getting a good deal is the basis of it’s business.
Overall I am not convinced that Mary will be able to single handedly turn the economy around by making British knickers. But it definitely gets you thinking about our buying habits. The programme shows that you need to educate consumers. Rather than telling people that they need to buy something, manufacturers and retailers need to inform consumers why they should buy it. Whether this will result in changed behaviours is still unknown and I am very interested in watching the rest of the series to find out!