Waitrose, Tesco, trust and horse burgers

Horses wouldn't be served at Waitrose, because we trust them and it's in their values
Horses wouldn’t be served at Waitrose, because we trust them and it’s in their values

I did a workshop at Nottingham Trent University yesterday and one of the key points I wanted to get across was brands who work with very focussed brand values have clearer marketing messages. More than this, they have clearer business propositions and it would seem to me that they are ultimately more successful as businesses too.

Take two companies, Tesco and Waitrose.

Tesco brands says ‘Every little helps’. What this says to me is that they chip away and chip away at every tiny little cost to try and drive the price down to one that is almost unsustainable by the supplier. I’m not saying I agree with them throwing a horse in with the beef to make a value burger, but I do think it may have de-specced the product to such a degree they just needed to add the protein to get them to the 63% meat content that their recipe demands (which is higher than Birds Eye’s Value burgers 45% meat!), so really, what do we expect?

A horse didn’t just fall into that beef vat by accident. Someone threw it in, knowing they needed to add some cheap meat to make up the weight of their consignment. That’s supplier desperation in action.

Waitrose work on the core brand value of ‘Trust” and for me, this comes trough everywhere. I just don’t believe they would buy their meat on the open market, without knowing where it came from. I trust them. For me, they have almost become curators of good food choice. If they sell it, then we know it’s going to be pretty good – certainly for supermarket food and we can be pretty sure it won’t contain horse.

It’s too easy to take pot shots at the giant that is Tesco, but they deserve it in this case. Their values are wrong and too many of us care about what we eat for them to remain as the force they are now. They need to change their values, change their brand behaviour to be a little more loveable and change the way they treat their suppliers. Or, they’re off……

Sam Farmer, Clever thinking grooming products

Sam Farmer grooming products
Sam Farmer, made for the blindies and those who actually care about what they wash themselves with

I don’t much go in for personal grooming products and have genuinely never knowingly bought an after-shave that has a smell to it. As a series of brands, they have just rather passed me by. I’m not sure if it’s just because i’m quite cynical and know too much about the production cost/selling cost ratio, or whether it’s because I don’t have much of a sense of smell.

But this range which I came across the other day, has two really clever points going for it, which give it a real chance of succeeding in a very crowded market place.

1. Older people like me, have poorer eye-sight I was genuinely struggling to find out whether a shampoo style bottle contained shampoo or conditioner last week because I couldn’t read the miniscule words on the front of the pack. in the same way that fashion brands use an XL size that is tiny, to stop people like me from buying their wares, maybe the shampoo brands are so clear in their targeting that me buying it would damage their brand. Or maybe it’s just poor user design.

2. It’s backed up by the research I was lucky enough to see a speaker from CrowdDNA talk about their Road Trip research they did for MTV. One of the key learnings from this was that today’s ‘youth’ would prefer that they were marketed to as individuals and not by gender. The whole concept of gender neutrality, is apparently important to a significant proportion of youths. Sam farmer has addressed this directly.

Time will tell though, whether these two points are strong enough to allow Sam and his range to stand out and sell in the market. I hope they do, because I love the fact that it’s such a small player up against such global business opposition.

You can see the website here or like them on Facebook.

Jamie Oliver in Boots – The other guy blinked

 Jamie Oliver in Boots - A sort of meal deal with Innocent
Jamie Oliver in Boots – A sort of meal deal with Innocent

I have written about Jamie Oliver in Boots a few times and the brand asking to extend the lunch price from £3.29 to nearer £7.00. A lovely idea, but unlikely in practice.

As much as I wanted to try it, I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy the sandwiches. Call it mental block or sheer tightwaddiness, But finally, the other guy blinked and they have added the whole Jame Oliver range into a form of meal deal. It’s not within the full £3.29 spectacular, but rather a £4 partnership with Innocent.

This is quite clever. Brands hang out with brands that work for them and make each other look good. By sharing the deal, the two brands feed off each other and may both benefit.

So, I bought one. A ‘Proper Salmon Sarnie’ and I have to admit it was up there with the nicest sandwiches I have ever had from a supermarket. Certainly equal to the taste of the ‘Taste the Difference’ sandwiches in Sainsbury’s, which are part of their £3 meal deal.

So, maybe there’s hope for the range yet.