Tele launches campaign on soaring prices

Too mundane? Too modest? Too parish pump a response to the credit crunch? I don’t think so. In an initiative that taps into people’s real-life problems, the Belfast Telegraph has launched Pricewatch “ to help you fight your corner against inflation”. Based on proper marketing surveys commissioned from Millward Brown and the Consumer Council, with more from and not the usual moans picked up in the street , the Tele is tracking the bad news of rocketing prices (an extra £1,400 a year for a basket of essentials) and reporting the better news, ( how you can save up to £400 a year by shopping around – detailed print-outs available, real nitty-gritty stuff). Today, they’ve caught out Tesco charging five different prices for petrol and diesel at five different sites in Northern Ireland, and Sainsbury’s three. They’ll go on to compare prices between Belfast and London later in the week. Will the Tele be able to claim that the campaign is having a real impact? Readers’ responses will be key. Expect wriggling and counterblasts from the big chains. To really bite the Tele will have to keep Pricewatch going indefinitely and we’ll have to see if they have the stamina. It’ll be interesting to see if the campaign can help arrest the overall downtrend of sales affecting the Telegraph like every other regional paper, down nearly 20,000 in four years to around 75,000 gross today. While you can dig out the basic price facts on the net yourself, it’s much harder to discover the local refinements that really matter. Added to which is the collective punch that a traditional old media newspaper can still pack. Pricewatch is a reminder of the unique campaigning voice of a big regional paper it would be tragic to lose.

  • jone

    You can easily save 60p a day by not buying the Telegraph.

  • pat

    ‘Today, they’ve caught out Tesco charging five different prices for petrol and diesel at five different sites in Northern Ireland’

    This was on the television news weeks ago, hardly an exclusive.

    I’m with jone, save the 60p.

    All this information is online free

  • billy b

    What is the Telegraph doing or saying that hasn’t been done a million times before ? Same old, same old, but I suppose it makes a change from them banging on about corporation tax.

  • spiritof07

    Does the paper mention than Tesco and Sainsbury’s petrol at its dearest is cheaper than Maxol / Shell etc?

    And Nigel Dodds has jumped on board and written to the supermarkets. Yawn.

    He must have really got it in the neck last week when he said, truthfully, that there is nothing the Executive can do about rising prices, them being useless and all.

  • The Watchman

    Yes, we could certainly save money from buying the Tele, which often looks like a downmarket mess, particularly its pseudo-Sunday Death edition on Saturdays. Also, what is the point of putting the Indy’s London lefty commentariat on the op-ed pages?

    I think the News Letter now looks the better paper. What a pity NI cannot support a quality newspaper.

  • same old story

    The tele’s mish mash of columnists that includes london based lefty’s, Dublin commentators and local based reactionaries praying every night for the conflict to start up again sends out very strange messages to its readers.
    They would argue they are being balanced but to include people like Frances A Burscough just looks like filler. Who the hell is she anyway?
    Their features are so irrelevant to people in the North that it is bordering on the embarrassing, so I am not sure this price watch fad will do much good.

  • I’m not sure I follow – what’s so evil about petrol stations, irrespective of ownership, charging prices to suit local competitive conditions?

  • Driftwood

    What happened to the ‘Save our Railways’ campaign?
    And Robert Fisk commenting on Lebanese politics! Weird for the people who bought it just for the obituaries. There’s always Lindy McDowell though.
    Does ANYONE ever buy at those main road junctions?

  • The digger

    The digger notes with incredulity the Belfast Telegraph’s latests wheeze by its owner, Sir Anthony O’Reilly and his management to show how they care for the paper’s readers. Funny that, since the company has been shedding jobs for the past three years in order to keep its profit levels at 45% of turnover. Its employees are currently undergoing another cost cutting round hence the articles drawn from its sister papers, the Independent in London and the Indo in Dublin, to make up editorial content to fill in the space once filled by local journalists.
    I agree with Billy B, it makes change from the paper constantly carping about cuttng Corporation Tax, which, incidentally would only benefit 3% of businesses in NI… you don’t have to guess which leading entrepreneur would pocket from it!

  • Big Maggie

    Good campaign by the Belfast Telegraph. Now I’m looking forward to them tackling the overpricing of that other essential: wine. As highlighted by Channel 4 last night. Champagne selling here at about three times the price it should. Who’s doing anything about that?

    And ordinary plonk. And what about the shite they put in the wine while the govt turns a blind eye, no labelling there. Oh sorry, according to a spokesman for the wine and spirits trade association we can simply ask the importer. Right, next time I’m in Sainsburys I’ll ask one of the sales assistants to point out the importer so I can ask him what sort of crap he’s put in my merlot. You couldn’t make it up.

  • Ann

    I’m not sure about the campaign. I get criticised for travelling long distances to save money, can’t do that any more since petrol and diesel is so high. I got some nice free T bags and bikkies for buying the telly today, so I got my 60p back…:)

    I get discount with Tesco’s that I wouldn’t get at ordinary petrol stages, we clocked up £30 last month between us as a family, on groceries and petrol.

  • Cahal

    The same rag that banged on for years about how sky rocketing house prices were fantastic!

    They were great cheerleaders for the northern ireland property pyramid scheme, which is now thankfully collapsing.

    How many young people are locked into years of negative equity (and horrendously inflated mortgage payments) because the BT advised them to buy buy buy into a housing market that had obviously reached bubble levels.

  • niall

    Brian Walker you cannot be serious?

    This is a disgraceful post trying to revise recent contributions on the eco=nomy from this despicable rag of a paper without any consideration of what these liars have been trying to shove down peoples throats on house prices particularly the last year.

    Whatever about the inflation of the house bubble and the general lack of insight as to how this credit boom was being caused by highly paid bankers confidant they could run the system into the ground and walk away with their bonuses already secreted away IT HAS BEEN THEIR LIES ABOUT THE CREDIT BUST which has been plain for all to see in recent times that has beggared belief.

    YOu could read a story about how a Belfast developer knocked a hundred k of a house one day and get ramping of house prices the next.

    It’s a terrible paper and has been since the days I lugged a bag of them around for an hour after school before wondering who the hell cared about the crap that was in there.

    As for this campaign! Belfast people are ignorant enough that it’ll probably sell them a few papers.

  • Bemused

    Belfast certainly needs a city-wide cross-community evening paper (every other city I can think of has one). Unfortunately the Telegraph is not it. I for one started saving my 60p because I got sick of it’s sectarian editing and editorial policy (i.e. ‘Ulster’ and ‘The province’ were de rigeur, ‘The North’ and ‘The six counties’ were verboten). A paper that at least reflected the everyday nomenclature of nearly fifty per cent of it’s readership would be a start. It should either ban all sectarian nomenclature or give parity of esteem to both. Siding with one half of the community is a fairly good way of alienating large sections of it’s target market IMHO.

  • Driftwood

    60p a day for 5 days = £12 a month = £144 a year.
    Enough to insure a small car. Hows that for saving money?

  • lee

    ‘A paper that at least reflected the everyday nomenclature of nearly fifty per cent of it’s readership would be a start’

    Very few Nationalists buy or read the rag.

  • IJP


    It’s hard to disagree with niall, to be honest, though I wouldn’t be quite so harsh.

    Further, they chose to launch this “campaign” on the day two major finance/banking institutions bust causing chaos in the markets (and therefore to all of us) and the loss of thousands of jobs – apparently, such a minor incident wasn’t worthy of an appearance on the front page, as it wasn’t as important as a story which was already widely known.


    Also an entirely fair point – I too am fed up with “Ulster” this, “Ulster” that.

    The name is “Northern Ireland” – if they must abbreviate, why not simply “NI”?

  • jone

    The Tele’s property correspondent must have one of the disheartening jobs in journalism.

    Given the cash cow that is their property supplement (allied to their ownership of the propertynews web business) the correspondent’s job appears to have been one of near relentless boosterism, reporting honeyed words of reassurance from estate agents and developers and taking some of the more questionable and desperate schemes at face value.

    Any real attempt at analysing the fundamentals has either been completely lacking or buried deep in the punter-unfriendly business supplement.

  • Bemused

    Lee – correct – I had meant to say ‘potential readership’.

    IJP – no problem with that suggestion.

  • aquifer

    “Pricewatch is a reminder of the unique campaigning voice of a big regional paper it would be tragic to lose.”

    With their profit margins there would soon be a replacement.

  • D.A.

    ‘A paper that at least reflected the everyday nomenclature of nearly fifty per cent of it’s readership would be a start.’

    A paper that bothered to give 100% of its readership something actually worth reading would be even better. Nowadays it’s just full of crap ‘celebrity’ stories, ads, silly consumer campaigns, etc. etc.

    I only read it on the Net for the entertainment value of the Letters section. And because it’s free.

  • Rosie Rose

    The Tele was ordered to stop its use of ‘Ulster’ and ‘the province’ quite some time ago.