Five of the best company straplines and the stories behind them - The Guardian

By Max du Bois

This week Max was asked to comment on the Guardian's article 'Five of the best company straplines and the stories behind them'.

Here's his thoughts on the John Lewis strapline, extracted from the article.

John Lewis: ‘Never knowingly undersold’

The history of John Lewis’ well-known strapline goes back decades. “Never knowingly undersold has been our trading philosophy since 1925,” says Jack Gorman, who works in the corporate and brand team at the British retailer. “The slogan was initially adopted by our founder John Spedan Lewis in 1925 at Peter Jones.” Gorman says it was originally intended to help remind buyers to get the lowest price. “It soon became famous for reassuring customers that they would never find the same product on sale more cheaply elsewhere.”

The department store has built an enviable reputation for customer service and reliability and, for this reason, its strapline still works. Max du Bois, executive director at agency Spencer du Bois, goes even further, describing it as “the high priest of retail straplines”. He adds: “It says it’s not cheap but it’s the best value. It says, ‘we do this as part of our DNA, year in, year out’.”

Neil Christie, managing director of agency Wieden & Kennedy, in London, adds: “It’s a brand that’s a bit old-fashioned and, for them, it still fits. Though if you were introduce it in a focus group now, people might ask you what it meant.”