Stuart Machin’s comments on Saturday came as Asda launched a TV ad for its new campaign, saying hundreds of its products had been judged ‘as tasty’ or ‘tastier than’ M&S lines in thousands of independent blind taste tests. The campaign promises ‘M&S taste at Asda price’, with in-store signage highlighting the ‘M&S Taste Match’ range.
“I always find it strange when retailers use other brands for their advertising,” Machin wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
“At M&S, taste without values is not quality in our eyes. When it comes to product, we constantly strive to lead the way on quality, welfare, and innovation with no ‘nasties’.
“Others have tried to copy us for years and that’s fine – it keeps us focused on setting the standard. To offer real quality, you can’t cut corners, and customers see through marketing gimmicks.”
A message of quality is central to M&S’s own marketing, credited with helping it grow food sales and recently re-enter the FTSE 100 after a four-year hiatus. Quality was the thrust of a summer-long series of TV ads fronted by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, focusing on M&S’s sourcing standards ‘from farm to Foodhall’.
The message is being reinforced in a print advertising campaign launched by M&S on Tuesday last week (25 September) under the strapline ‘This is not just food – it’s never just food’.
Asda first announced its matching campaign the following day, boasting: “This isn’t just food, it’s M&S taste, at an Asda price – proving that great-tasting products don’t necessarily need to cost more.
“All products in Taste Match are better value than the same items at M&S, a retailer that has a long-standing reputation for great-quality food.”
I always find it strange when retailers use other brands for their advertising. At M&S, taste without values is not quality in our eyes. When it comes to product, we constantly strive to lead the way on quality, welfare, and innovation with no ‘nasties’. Others have tried to copy…— Stuart Machin (@MachinStuart1) September 30, 2023
Asda’s ‘taste matched’ products include its Extra Special British Aberdeen Angus Ribeye Steak, Extra Special Lemon Drizzle Cake and Extra Special Madagascan Tiger Prawns.
Asda is also taste testing its products against those of other “luxury retailers” including Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, and Harvey Nichols.
“Following results that showed an array of Asda products standing up against their luxury counterparts, the supermarket has continued to deliver on its commitment to great quality and taste, while reassuring on price, through the launch of its M&S Taste Match campaign,” the supermarket said.
On top of its TV ad, Asda has partnered with the show Never Mind the Buzzcocks for a series of videos on Sky’s social channels. It sees comedian Judi Love and regular Buzzcocks panelist Jamali Maddix carry out blind taste tests on Asda products versus M&S’s.