by Wayne Stuart
During a recent visit to Debenhams to buy a gift I was asked would I like a bag? If so the cost would be 5p. Of course I said yes, no way was I showing the world and his wife my taste in gifts. But it got me thinking about the wider effects of this recent change in the law. As more and more people decide not to pay the 5p the retailers are faced with a growing problem, losing advertising space. Because that’s what bags are. Yes, they are handy for hiding or carrying your purchase but to the retailer they are a perfect way to get their brand out there and the all important sale message. The best example of this desire for a piece of plastic is when friends of mine children visited Harvey Nicks and bought the cheapest product they could find just to have the bag/status symbol. Now imagine the scenario where a hipster 20 something buys a must have item from, say, John Lewis, and decides to take his or her own bag, when asked would they like a branded 5p bag they simply smile and pop the item into a…Selfridges bag! Worse still it’s an older bag with SALE emblazoned on it! Now imagine the look on the face of the head of marketing when he/she walks out advertising to the world that they shop in Selfridges and they’ve got a sale on.
Hopefully this will create a stampede to create better bags with improved creative and, hopefully, clever design. Agencies will be inundated with requests for bag pitches! Shops will fall over themselves to tempt you to part with 5p and re-use their bag exclusively. We may even see adverts for the bag rather than the item that goes in it. Or we’ll just say “Yeah, what’s 5p eh?”