Brand Barometer - £10 uniform comes at a cost to Asda

Retailer's value rating improves, but reputation suffers following recent out-of-store developments.

We are used to seeing television programmes dishing out fashion advice to terminally uncool grown-ups. However, the latest ads from Asda for its George clothing brand lends a new twist on the theme, featuring fashion tips for those still stuck in school uniforms.

The ads show a schoolboy looking rather depressed at his imminent return to school, offering advice for other school-bound youngsters on how to customise their school uniform - undoing buttons, loosening ties, not putting their collars up to look like vampires and, for the boys, thinking "dirt".

The main purpose of the ad is not, of course, a public service to encourage scruffier children at the nation's schools, but to promote the fact that George school uniforms are now available at under £10.

The message seems to be working. Looking at BrandIndex's figures, George's reputation for value increased from 14 to 20 when the £10 school uniform was first launched at the beginning of June, and this ad campaign has served as a further reminder to people, temporarily pushing up George's value score by another two points to +21.

Cheap prices are not necessarily always a good thing, though.

When Asda first announced it was to offer complete school uniforms at only £10, it was criticised by charities such as War on Want, who feared the cheap clothes could only be the result of paying rock-bottom wages to overseas suppliers.

More recently, the retailer has been ordered by the competition regulator to hand over e-mails sent to suppliers, as part of an investigation into whether the big supermarkets are bullying suppliers.

Looking again at George's BrandIndex scores, at the same time as its value score has risen, its corporate reputation has dropped from -4 to -7.

For the big supermarkets at least, it appears there could be a downside to putting the emphasis solely on how cheap you are.

METHODOLOGY

YouGov's BrandIndex is a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors, measured on a seven-point profile, with data delivered on the next day.

YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday, more than half a million interviews per year.

This means you can spot trends as soon as they happen, not when it's too late. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 130,000.

The score is the net rating: people are asked to identify the brands to which they have a positive response, and then those to which they have a negative response, to whatever is the prompt measure.

The net score is the positive minus the negative.

The seven measures that make the complete profile are below.

Each is taken independently - in any one survey, any individual respondent is asked about only one measure for the sector, not all seven. Therefore, none of the readings influence each other within the survey.

1. Buzz

2. General impression

3. Quality

4. Value

5. Satisfaction

6. Recommend

7. Corporate reputation

In addition, we supply an index score.

www.brandindex.com.

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