Betting on the wrong horse?

Old Nov 13, 17, 4:35 am
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Betting on the wrong horse?

Not directly BA-related, but since it is the provider of ET food, an article in the weekend FT on how M&S food sales are slumping. Perhaps more interestingly, it argues that M&S is no longer the 'aspirational' food brand which brought the UK new forms of prepared meals that were a cross between frozen meals and 'home made' and introduced ethnic and vegetarian ranges to the British mass public decades ago. The article goes on to argue that M&S is now offering something fairly undistinguished from the UK standard (unlike Waitrose which she thinks has now toppled it as more 'inspirational' for the middle class and the new caterers emerging everywhere) yet more expensive than similar food offered as part of the premium ranges of other supermarkets.

I find the article interesting. I still shop M&S with some reasonable regularity but the experience described by the author of leaving the shop without buying anything after failing to be inspired by anything is actually familiar. By contrast, if I go to Waitrose, which I also do with some regularity, I am far more tempted to buy minute-cut aged meat or fish from the counter than M&S pre-packaged (which costs even more!) and am more excited to try a Waitrose pre-packaged salad of pea shoots and edible flowers than any of the M&S ones which just seem the equivalent of Tesco's at twice the price.

It made me wonder. Has BA chosen to bet on the wrong horse?

https://www.ft.com/content/ad4eca10-...e-a7c1c7c13aab
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:00 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
It made me wonder. Has BA chosen to bet on the wrong horse?
I don't think so. It seems to me that there is a fairly reasonably good brand match between BA and M&S.
I do agree that the M&S food brand is certainly not aspirational these days. IMO, it is now one of those established, picture-postcard "British" brand that you would associate with a Telegraph-reading, Tory-voting, 50 to 60 year olds. You do not expect innovation or excitement from it but rather somewhat old-fashioned comfort, a kind of Chesterfield sofa ambience.

That fits the image that BA tends to project (rightly or wrongly) reasonably well, I would have thought. You would not associate BA with energy and innovation these days. It is a rather staid brand that wants to hang on to the appearance of discreet, comfortable moderate luxury but nothing too flashy. Whether the reality of the product actually lives up to that is debatable but that is, I would have thought, the image that BA tends to project.

Waitrose projects a more dynamic image than this although I feel that they too are starting to feel rather less aspirational than they were, say, 5 years ago.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:08 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I don't think so. It seems to me that there is a fairly reasonably good brand match between BA and M&S.
Or to put it simply, both are brands in decline, so yes, a good match
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:21 am
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M&S has cornered the market for the middle classes who want some part prepared food to eat cold or heat and eat. So matching that to BA's offering of similar is a reasonable match.

Waitrose may be a far more competent overall supermarket but they're not the omnipresent "get something to put in the oven for dinner" or "get a sandwich" shop that M&S is. One goes to Waitrose to buy ingredients to prepare, not to buy that which has already been prepared.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:22 am
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Originally Posted by NickB
"I don't think so. It seems to me that there is a fairly reasonably good brand match between BA and M&S."

My flight last week echos that.. LGW to AGP and there must have been 20 people with walking sticks, nearly everybody had grey hair ( me included ) and the average age was well past 50. If you wander into Marks and Spencer its pretty much the same demographic.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:30 am
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Be careful what you wish for... If the Cruzade for low cost is continuing, perhaps they will partner up with Iceland, under the new slogan “that’s why moms fly to Reykjavik”... :-)
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:40 am
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I hadn’t thought of those brand associations but it’s true and sadly I fit into the category. The difference is that I don’t want to fit into the category which, I suppose, is why I find much of BA’s marketing to be deeply unappealing.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
It made me wonder. Has BA chosen to bet on the wrong horse?
The very widely held rumour at the time (what's the saying... 'there's no smoke without fire' ) was that Waitrose said no.

M&S was the best horse they could get. Make of that what you will.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:09 am
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Are you saying BA should have had the Tesco horse?
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:16 am
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Being someone who should be of the generic M&S demographic I am now totally brand disloyal. I shop and fly with whoever I want, if treated a simply a cash cow I tend to "shop" there less, since April 2016 BA has had £168 of my pounds to get my 4 BA flights and I doubt if they will get much more even though I should be Gold by end of Feb. As for supermarkets Tesco got my spend today and Waitrose will be getting some later this week and maybe M&S.The freedom is liberating.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:30 am
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So class conscious you lot LOL.
One does not shop at waitrose, I am nor travelling out my way to buy expensive food just to let the neighbours know how posh I am.
No, its Tescos for us, we have also been seen in (horror upon horror) Aldi!

But then again, we are not Designer fan bois, so don't have an Iphone X or a Beeeeeemer in the drive.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:33 am
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I'm surprised no one has come on here to say everything is much better in Harrods.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:35 am
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Originally Posted by LordBuckethead View Post
The very widely held rumour at the time (what's the saying... 'there's no smoke without fire' ) was that Waitrose said no.
I would guess Waitrose might prefer to be associated with the Club cabin in some way. Maybe when they bring BoB [due to customer demand of course] to the front cabin they will be back in line for some business
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
It made me wonder. Has BA chosen to bet on the wrong horse?
Well, if they chose Waitrose, would they then have to offer free hot drinks (again)?

signol
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Old Nov 13, 17, 6:59 am
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I suspect far more people in Europe are aware of the M&S brand than Waitrose.

Who chooses to fly economy to buy an 'aspirational' sandwich anyway?
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