News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Somerfield Falcondale Road - A Triumph of Convenience over Aesthetics

Fanfares, balloons, bunting and celebrities were conspicuously absent this morning when, a little after 9.00 a.m. the new Somerfield/Texaco petrol station and convenience store in Westbury on Trym opened its automatic doors and switched on its pumps for the general public.

The low-key opening (which I must confess looked touch and go at 11.00 last night when the men in hi-visibility jackets and hard hats were still rushing around) has followed months of demolishing, cutting, digging and re-building.

The new store, rising phoenix-like from the petrochemical fumes, looks, well... new. Beyond that, I am puzzled as to the branding and design issues involved.

Somerfield's buy out of Texaco forecourts happened several years ago and there seems to have been confusion over the branding policy ever since. Here in Westbury (as in Shirerhampton) we have red and black Texaco petrol pumps juxtaposed with a blue and yellow Somerfield store front.

This may work for Esso/Tesco on Henleaze Road where the two companies' blue, white and red blend in with each other. With Texaco/Somerfield, by contrast, the final product puts me in mind of art class in nursery school where the four year-olds are given free rein with the paint pots.

The colour clash is the more perplexing when considering that Bristol's other new Somerfield petrol station (opposite Hengrove Leisure Centre in the south of the City) is branded entirely in Somerfield colours - including the pumps.

Is there something we're not being told here or are different parts of Bristol managed by different teams of PR people?

Whatever, at least I won't have to walk so far for my milk and papers.

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