John Lewis to axe 'Never knowingly undersold' and shift marketing focus to values

Retailer is working on strategic review for slogan change in-house.

John Lewis & Partners: works with Adam & Eve/DDB on advertising
John Lewis & Partners: works with Adam & Eve/DDB on advertising

John Lewis & Partners is to drop its "Never knowingly undersold" price-matching policy as an increasing amount of sales take place online and the retailer is shifting its marketing strategy to "shout more" about its values.

The change of slogan is being led by an in-house team, a spokeswoman told Campaign. It is likely that this includes executive director for strategy and commercial development Nina Bhatia, who joined the business in February. 

In an interview with The Sunday Times yesterday, chairman Dame Sharon White explained that the strapline is under review and she is thinking of something along the lines of "Fair value for all".

The "Never knowingly undersold" promise gives customers a refund on the price difference of an item they bought in store and have seen it cheaper elsewhere within 28 days. However, this does not apply to online sales, which now account for 70% of John Lewis' sales.

John Lewis is releasing some major marketing campaigns later this year, as White told The Sunday Times that the retailer needs to "shout more about our values". This will include an autumn campaign for Waitrose, as well as a big Christmas ad. 

Adam & Eve/DDB works on the above-the-line business, while Manning Gottlieb OMD handles media planning and buying. 

White also has a goal to bring John Lewis and Waitrose closer together and will put more supermarkets in department stores. She wants 80% of people who use the supermarket to also shop in the department store; currently, it is 40%.

As a result, there will be a new loyalty programme across both stores. Campaign reported earlier this month that Waitrose is searching for a new CRM agency and is speaking to M&C Saatchi, MRM McCann, MSQ Partners, Rapp and TMW Unlimited as part of the process.

White added that there will also be a bigger focus on home, garden and financial products, moving away from women's fashion, travel and spa.

Much like other retailers, coronavirus has had a big impact on John Lewis, forcing it to close eight stores with the loss of up to 1,300 jobs.

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