I write in response to your special report “Loyalty at what cost” (MW May 16), the main thrust of which accuses supermarkets of becoming obsessed with price promotions at the expense of more creative added-value promotions.
“Good Food Costs Less at Sainsbury’s” was, in my opinion, one of the greatest advertising lines of all time, simply because it was true and because it represented exactly what consumers were looking for. It was true then, and it is still true today that people go to Sainsbury’s to get good food at a reasonable price. They don’t go for added-value promotions, competitions, demonstrations, free prize draws or any of those wonderful things that Mr Lincoln of Claydon Heeley calls “retailtainment” (jargon-tastic).
I would suggest that Messrs Lincoln, Cunningham, Baxter and Wigram pay a visit to the Tesco store at the bottom of Purley Way, near Croydon. It is a huge supermarket, permanently packed with people. They go there to buy the products they want, as quickly as possible and at a reasonable price.
Packaged-goods brands and sales promotion agencies might not like it, but price-led retail is exactly what the consumer is looking for. It is fundamental to the proposition of most supermarket brands. I would suggest stopping and asking any of the people you bump into in Purley’s Tesco whether what they are looking for is “retailtainment”.
I’m not saying there is no place for added-value promotions, but the truth is that a huge chunk of the population are busy, time-poor people who want to zip round a supermarket, get a good deal on their shopping and get home. And let’s face it, we don’t want our supermarkets cluttered with people kicking balls into nets, filling in forms or having to read endless offers or instructions.
I just don’t think the tagline “Retailtainment costs about the same as our competitors at Sainsbury’s” would be as effective.