Hit or miss? Pret A Manger axes crisp flavour after name complaints

Pret A Manger has withdrawn a line of spicy tomato flavoured crisps a week after its launch. The company said it was 'extremely sorry' following complaints from religious groups that the 'Virgin Mary' brand name was offensive.

Tomato beef: Pret row over crisp name
Tomato beef: Pret row over crisp name

A spokesman added that it did not take many complaints to prompt the withdrawal. Pret A Manger, which also took to Twitter to apologise, has pledged to give the crisps to charities for the homeless.

How I see it

Tom Hargreaves, director, Publicasity PR

It looks as if Pret A Manger acted pretty quickly to remove its ‘Virgin Mary’ brand of crisps, following complaints.

Perhaps in a Friday afternoon brainstorm, it thought that naming a brand of crisps after a non-alcoholic cocktail of the same flavour would be a good idea.

It’s not difficult to see why some people of a more religious persuasion might find the name offensive. Perhaps a sanity check from an external source would have been a good idea?

However, to Pret A Manger’s credit, it appears to have repented in haste, rather than at leisure. Announcing that the crisps would be donated to the homeless turned a bit of an own-goal into a positive PR story – for that, the company should be commended.

Taking on websites called Protect the Pope should be avoided at all costs.

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