No. 49 Vol. 1Mon 09 October 2023Price: 0/0d

Farewell, live well

pointing finger Sensible Ramblings >> Mon 09 October 2023 by Thran

I once was a regular at the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's. I found it had a reasonable assortment of groceries which matched the quality of rival chains, but they distinguish themselves by selling some higher quality goods at prices below known brands.

A favourite comparison is Sainsbury's tins of chunky beef and vegetable soup; in 2022 tins of it were bought for 70p each. Compare with known brand Heinz which sells their chunky soup for £1.25 to £1.50. That's quite a lot to ask for something in a tin! Meanwhile Tesco's own brand of soup includes abominations like 'broccoli and stilton' or 'pea and ham' - who would ever?

Corporate coddling

Now we've established what sets Sainsbury's apart, let's consider the matter of its slogan. A good slogan tells us in a sentence:

  • what a company offers
  • how it sees itself
  • why we should give our custom to it above all others

Sainsbury's perfectly captured its offering - affordable quality - with its slogan used until 2021:

old sainsbury's bag with live well for less slogan

Live well for less

Live well for less describes what Sainsbury's offer uniquely in the competitive grocery retail market. It describes all that I, the customer expect you to do for me: let me enter your premises and purchase quality food while saving more of my own meagre resources.

And for some reason they threw that away for this silly new one:

Helping everyone eat better

What on earth does that mean? Are they offering courses in eating something called a 'better'? Instruction for how to properly align teeth and jaws for optimal chewing?

I think the intent is 'we want to help you eat healthier?' but that's not clearly communicated. Helping everyone eat better is actually coddling and patronising to your customers. We already know what we want to eat, just stop the lectures and let us buy it.

Helping everyone give us the better part of their income

The first slogan is more honest - they are a company that exchanges your money for food, and they aren't hiding the fact that doing that at a discount is attractive. The present slogan suggests that I need their help to make better dietary choices, an odd thing for a company marketing many 'unhealthy' foods to suggest indeed.

What a strange time we live in. Does anyone actually like businesses more when they pretend to be your friend, rather than saying 'yeah we take your money but we we give you something you want in return', because that is all I expect from them. Please, just be honest.

Tags for this writ:

business, language, linguistics,