Lever’s reputation ‘under threat’ after Asda link-up

Lever Brothers is advertising its lead detergent brand Persil alongside Asda’s own-label detergent brand Logic in a landmark decision to suspend the fight against own-label products.

The co-operative advertisement, which appears in Asda’s in-store magazine, features the line: “Have the wash you wish for with Asda Logic and Persil.”

It will be seen by many in the industry as the first clear sign of appeasement in the fight between top brand manufacturers and supermarkets.

Lever claims the ad is part of a campaign to educate consumers about the differences between the various laundry detergent formats such as biological and non biological.

Lever Brothers’ sales director John Ballington says the ad is intended to help consumers understand what the products do. “We are putting authority on the market message rather than the brand message,” he says.

But, significantly, the ad also puts the top-selling Persil brand on an equal footing with Asda’s recently launched Logic, allowing the own-label brand to cash in on the Persil name.

One source from a large branding consultancy says Lever Brothers is entering dangerous territory: “How can it claim that the price premium on Persil is justified because it is better than own label on the one hand, and that it is the same product on the other? It will cause confusion, and devalue the brand.”

Logic was launched in September last year when Asda scrapped Integra (MW September 27 1996). It undercuts Persil on price by up to 60p.

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