Friday, April 19, 2013

Fresh and Not So Easy

Have you ever been to a Fresh & Easy? They are located in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Currently this 200 store supermarket chain is owned by Tesco which is headquartered in England. Their core food store business is in the UK and they have a presence in several countries, including China, India, Hungary, and Poland. 

Tesco has been around since the 1920’s; they have over 300,000 employees and over 3,000 stores! Tesco even has its own bank, located in their UK stores. 

And they've been mentioned in this 2006 hit song by Lily Allen:

They are not small potatoes.

Five years ago Tesco sought bigger fish to fry and launched Fresh & Easy in the states. In all other countries they've used the name Tesco. Not here.  I visited one of their stores soon after it opened in my area. It was small, messy, and boxes were piled up everywhere. Nothing was pleasing to the eye. 

I selected a few items and proceeded to check out. The cashier yelled at me about something; I don’t recall what. I later told a friend that this must be the equivalent to shopping in Russia (Have never been; it’s just a perception). I haven’t been back to a Fresh & Easy since.

And now there’s another reason not to visit. Happened to have the radio on the other day and heard an ad that could contribute to their demise even faster. Oh, you haven’t heard? Tesco is leaving the U.S. and their 200 stores are up for sale. They have a message regarding their situation to loyal shoppers on their website, dated April 17. 

Their “last blast” of advertising to promote the brand isn't going to win over too many people. Sure “F’in Easy” is supposed to sound cute and people have been using the term to refer to their stores. But hey, did “FCUK” work all that well for a certain British brand?  French Connection went back to their original name after a few years.

In the radio spot a little ditty tells us about the lack of things you can’t pronounce that presumably are not included in the fine wares sold by Fresh & Easy. Is this an attempt to compete with Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or Sprouts? Well, it isn't because the "cutesy" tune with it's "F'in" references is  directed to a younger audience and not the alfalfa eating boomer crowd.  Aha! 

What IS this brand anyway? There's a lack of identity here. From my one visit I gauged that they were trying to be a discount grocery that provided no assistance to the shopper whatsoever.  At any rate, it’s an odd moment to try to relaunch a brand when it’s up for sale. 

The fine folks at Fresh & Easy have a video version of the ad that they have dubbed "a musical". That video is a "must see" otherwise what I've wrote above makes no sense. Let me know your thoughts on it! Click here (sorry could not embed it!).

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San Diego Momma/Two Funny Brains said...

I'm a Fresh and Easy fan...AFTER having the same "discount grocery store" experience you did a few years ago. But eventually, I DID go back about a year ago and that vibe all but disappeared. It's now one of my favorite places to shop because they're stuff is well-priced and healthy.

I'm no marketing whiz, but to my pea brain, Fresh and Easy has always seemed to espouse the brand values contained in its name and back it up with its marketing efforts.

I see what you mean though about this recent campaign. It does seem to be geared to a younger audience than its loyal following of old mom ladies like me.

I hope it makes it though. It's a worthy contender in the healthy and affordable grocery store space.

Shannon Grissom said...

We don't have them in our neck of the woods. Looks like we are not missing much.

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