Asda’s trading troubles have been well documented in recent years. The rise of the budget Grocer coupled with increasing consumer expectations on everything from range, innovation and accessibility have placed significant strain on Asda's once undisputed identity as the low-cost UK supermarket. Trading figures could lead you to conclude that more and more consumers find the spark to be missing in their local Asda superstore shopping experience.
However, it’s a more literal spark that I’ve recently observed missing from Asda. The Walmart Spark.
Asda introduced the Walmart spark to their logo in 2015 along with the "Save money. Live better" strapline as a nod to their Bentonville Parent. But it's been absent this year from all their TV Ads. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Profile Pictures also suggest that the addition was potentially only a temporary addition for Asda's 50th Anniversary.
When launching the rebrand, Barry Williams, Asda’s chief customer officer, described the adoption of the Walmart spark and strapline as a “natural step on for our brand and I believe it will really resonate with our customers.” Perhaps the Leeds-based supermarket’s insights team collected concerning customer feedback that resulted in the Spark being quietly extinguished. Or potentially judged as just not worth the multi-million-pound investment to update the entire estate.
If this is a change of heart, it's certainly not unheard of. I often find myself trying to remember whether I dreamt of the “Pasta Hut” rebrand.
Asda's departing CEO Andy Clark introduced the logo as part of a wider initiative to reduce ‘damaging, unprofitable short-term promotions’. If a permanent removal, the 2-year-old logo holds unfortunate – and potentially unfair - irony for those seeking a reduction of short term retail thinking. Unfair as one man’s short-term thinking is another’s agility. Furthermore, I’m certainly not going to lambast any retailer who guides their business by listening to their customers.
Whether it was a marketing campaign that ran its course or customer impressions running the show, musing the missing moniker highlights some of the most pressing issues in retail today.