fbpx Skip to content

Fake it British – Cashing in on 2012

How everybody is using the Union Jack to sell their product this year, whether it is made in Britain or not

Champagne passing itself off as British

Champagne passing itself off as British

Regular readers of this website, as well as those that follow me on Twitter, will know that one of my biggest bug bears is products with Union Jacks on that aren’t actually made in Britain. And when this is also combined with a great big sign proclaiming ‘Buy British’ it drives me nuts.  The Jubilee celebrations this week, as well as the Olympics in London next month, has created a Union Jack frenzy to the point where there is not a single product you can’t buy without our distinctive red, white and blue flag emblazoned upon it. Aisle upon aisle in ever supermarket in the land is adorned with red, white and blue products in the hope that the increased support for British-ness will translate into a boost in sales of their (mainly foreign-made) goods.

Everyone is at it – Selfridges have their Great British Shop, containing a Le Creuset ‘Britain Celebrates’ mug made in France, and John Lewis have a Celebrate Britain collection that includes a Union Jack umbrella made in China (although in all fairness to JL they do also have a Made in the UK section on their website). Even that once very British of institutions, Marks and Spencer, has resorted to a plethora of Chinese-made tat emblazoned with our noble flag – this bra being the most offending item I have seen so far. But on the flip-side M&S do also have these Made in Britain tights which are, heaven help us, actually Made in Britain!

The offending Lanson display at Gatwick airport

The offending Lanson display at Gatwick airport

I was particularly heartened to hear that I was not the only one offended by all of these ‘Fake it British’ shenanigans. When  Bob Lindo of Camel Valley, makers of English sparkling wine, spotted this display at Gatwick airport by French champagne brand Lanson, with a Union Jack sleeve and a sign above saying Buy British, he was hopping mad. “I don’t believe that wrapping a French wine in a Union Jack is remotely acceptable” said Bob, “after years of crucifying even Elderflower ‘Champagne’ producers, for them now to do this is hypocritical to say the least”. He went on to stage a sit in at the airport until the offending sign was taken down and has since launched an official complaint with the  UK Trading Standards Department and is awaiting the outcome. Good on you Bob, if only there were more people like you willing to stand up to the faux-British products that we are being bombarded with this year.

If you have other great examples of Fake it British we’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment below or post a message at www.Facebook.com/MakeitBritish



  1. Logan Smith on June 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I completely agree with you on this and it has been a real sticking point with me for years. I think it is very misleading to emblazen products with the British Flag when the products are not made in the UK. For those of us who do make products in the UK it is very frustrating!

  2. Valroma on June 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Each time we see the British flag we think of Made in china. Any product with an British flag on not made in Britain should be banned, does the British flag have any copy right like the Olympic Rings NO. Its misleading Do we have a trading standards in this country NO. Keep forgetting England is bankrupt with the Government of the day spending more money on our behave than they have.Government cannot legislate for real jobs or create new companies.

    • luke on July 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      YEAH VALROMA, broken britain and some other shit. INDIGNATION

  3. Rob W on June 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    If the law does not already protect clearly Brirish designations (the Union Flag, ‘Of Britain’ ‘Of London’ ‘Jermyn Street’, etc etc for exclusively UK manufactured goods, then it should!
    As a first step, I wonder if existing trading standards legislation can be used at least to make sure that the cdountry of manufacture should be identified as clearly as the fake British ID?
    Or maybe a change in the law is required.

  4. Lewis on December 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    There were plenty of goods displaying the Union Jack this summer. I saw Olympic medals with a Union Jack branding produced by a company that has no production facility in the UK.

    Shame on them

    • Lizzy on February 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Were any of the official Olympic branded products made in Britain ?

      The designer well-known for her Union Jack cushions, which are actually made in India (2 of her employees told me), was an official Olympic brand. That honour should have been given to a soft furnishings designer who actually manufactures in the UK. What were the organisers of London 2012 thinking of ? Not how British manufacturing could benefit that’s for sure.

  5. Counterman on December 29, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    A lot of items don’t even have the country of origin on them. Perhaps after Brexit we should make it compulsory for any item sold / advertised in this country should be clearly marked. I have bought items in the past with a Union Jack showing only to find they were made in China. Now I refuse to buy anything (as far as possible) if I cannot identify where it is manufactured.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Weekly Newsletter

Blog Categories

Search the Site