Well, first you have to know a little bit about ASDA. They are the second biggest retailer in the UK, behind Tesco and owned by Wal-Mart with more than 170 000 employees. The profile is to promote themselves as the lowest priced supermarket in UK.
ASDAs webpage state: “Retail is always changing but the one thing that will always remain constant is our commitment to offering low prices.”
In general their Branding approach is a monolithic approach with the same logo and color for all the different parts of the company. And trough brand extension they build on their knowledge about the retail industry and their promise of a low price and merge into other segments:
Starting with their retail store from traditional supermarkets and grocery stores, they have expanded into ASDA Living, George (clothing), ASDA Pharmacy and ASDA Optician (introduced after Wal-Marts acquisition of the company in 2000), ASDA Mobile, ASDA Direct, ASDA Photo, ASDA Personalized cards (printing service) and ASDA Travel.
All of these categories benefits from their strong position as a low price provider.
So for all the categories presented here their promise is acceptable and desired by their customers. And the spill over effect of their commitment to a cheap price is easily understood.
But then they entered the dating category with ASDA Dating. In this category their brand promise on low price has the opposite effect. Basically because their customers (and everyone else) do not understand how their brand promise of a low price can have any relevance when it comes to dating, and so they became one of the trend topics on Twitter. From all the tweets there is no mistake that all of them understand the ASDA promise of low price.
It’s difficult to understand what was going on in the head of the management group at ASDA when they made the decision to go ahead with the dating site. According to The Grocer, the main idea seemed to be that they wanted to capitalize on their large customers group and information about their shopping habits, and use this to match people. According to a survey 71% of them male respondents considered supermarkets to be a better place to find a date than pubs and bars.
They should have added another question in the survey and asked how many would join a dating service if ASDA where to set up one. It would be even more interesting to see the percentage saying yes after it became a Twitter trend.
The relation with a brand is not an isolated thing between a single user and the brand. It’s a symbiosis between the different users, the non-users, the brand in question and the brand owner (if there is one). In this case the brand owner is ASDA, the brand is ASDA Dating and it seams like the non-users is the twitter community.
What surprises me is that the ASDA Dating service went live February 1, but they didn’t became a twitter trend until a month later…
But lets hope that this engagement on Twitter will be the downfall of this service… for humanity’s sake.
Update on March 16: For whatever reason ASDA has change the dating site and removed the ASDA branding elements. I wrote a small piece on this here.