You may recall back in the early 90's Gerald Ratner famously commented on the quality of his companies wares. At that point the cut price jewellery company was posting record profits; within a few hours of his speech he had lost the shareholders somewhere in the region of 500 million pounds.
He was quoted as saying;
'We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap."
He went on, in case anyone had missed the point "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long."
That was certainly the quote that I remember. The press had a field day and eighteen months later he resigned.
I can't help but make this comparison following Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary's comments to a passenger who was charged hundreds of Euros to have her boarding passes printed out at the check-in desk as she claimed she was unable to do it prior to arrival at the airport.
"idiot' customers who don’t like paying for boarding passes should ‘b***** off’." was his characteristic response. Not satisfied he continued in full prawn sandwich mode;
'Thank you Mrs McLeod, but it was your f*** up and if you screw up, you compensate us and you send us a gesture of goodwill.’
So is this new age savvy marketing or is he 'Doing a Ratner'?