Jamie Oliver in Boots – And then he rolled over

It was a good effort, but for me was doomed from the start. Jamie Oliver in Boots. More about volume than brand alignment.

It’s a bit like Asda selling Bose, Bentley or maybe a premium food range by Heston Blumenthal. The brands just don’t connect and their audiences have almost no overlap, so they are doomed to fail from the start. The danger for the premium brand is that it becomes tarnished by hanging out with the cheaper one.

A while ago I predicted they would need to include it in the Boots meal deal for it to succeed. And then more recently, they blinked and made a mini meal deal with an alignment with Innocent – which was a good thing.

And now they have gone one better (cheaper) again and made a real meal deal with a drink and a snack for the fixed price of £4.95. This is almost as cheap as some of the sandwiches on their own. It may be a last roll (or salad) of the dice, but it does feel like an important price point to have ducked under and for me is now far more likely to succeed. What it will do for the long term brand equity of Jamie Oliver is less sure, but it’s a step downwards that will be very hard to recover from.

Jamies does (cheap) lunch via the meal deal at Boots
Jamies does (cheap) lunch via the meal deal at Boots

Thanks for the picture Leo.

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……

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.