Liverpool: Morrisons knows shoppers don’t trust Scousers
Northern supermarket chain Morrisons thinks the Scouse accent is not good at selling its quality groceries. Casting Networks Inc was looking to recruit actors for a new Morrisons advert. They wanted “proper working class people”. They said Scousers need not apply. The ad went:
They should be proper working class people but not at all like the people from ‘Benefits Street’. They should NOT sound or look posh and we should skew towards northern accents. And nobody from Liverpool please.”
The ad also called for “quirks“, such as “bushy eyebrows and freckles“. So, no black faces, then?
But no matter for the race issue. A sharp-browed black actor can always go ‘Ginger Face’ and stick on some felt. It’s the ban on Liverpudlians that hurt. One Guardian writer was outraged that la-di-da-lar Scouse actors were not good / too good for Morrisons.
The deplorable language used to stereotype different types of ‘working class’ people is pure class-based discrimination. The crass, gratuitous nature of the words jump out. Like being stopped in the street and hit with a tirade of puerile, outdated incoherence. Growing up against a backdrop of the Thatcherite “managed decline” of the city of Liverpool, I have plenty of personal experience of such nonsense. In my quest for a first job as a reporter, I ended up being interviewed for a news agency role. It went OK until the interviewer, as if struck by a paroxysm of offensiveness, blurted out: “Just one final thing … you don’t write the way you speak, do you?”
But surely the casting agency and Morrisons were not exercising their own prejudices, rather working under the market-research-backed premise their shoppers do not like the Scouse accent. And no lesser mind than Craig Brown has passed comment on Liverpool:
The city’s favourite dish is the so-called “Sarnie Sarnie” – two slices of bread placed between two further slices of bread… Sophisticated Liverpudlians order their “Sarnie Sarnies” deep-fried.
He advises honing the Liverpudlian accent by “gargling with raw potato skins three times a week”.
You can get those sarnies and spuds mentioned above in Morrisons. Although, the supermarket advises Liverpudlians to pay for them before leaving any of their stores…