France’s Monoprix Asks, What Have Brands Done For You Lately?

Monoprix, a French supermarket chain, recently launched a glossy in-store magazine and, with an ever expanding private label portfolio, it is interesting they have chosen to call it “Brand’s”.

Perhaps even more interesting is the headline that graces the launch issue: “Les marques, elles font quoi pour vous aujourd’hui?” which roughly translates: Brands, what have they done for you lately?

The associated article consists of an interview conducted by a “Consumer Psycho-Sociologist” withOlivier Geradon de Vera, Vice President of IRI, a French consultancy specializing in retail trends and tracking.

The interview’s conclusion: “La marquee reste une vraie necessite pour les consommateurs…” Brands remain a true necessity for consumers… – is probably exactly what Yoplait, who bought the adjacent page espousing “Vous devez avoir besoin de plus de calins!” You probably need more hugs – wanted to hear.

Geradon de Vera goes on to say that the reason for this necessity is, “…car elle permet de romper la monotonie de l’offre des non-marques et d’apporter du plaisir au-dela de la necessity” because [brands] break up the monotony of non-brands and deliver pleasure beyond just necessity.

The article in and of itself does not really provide any new insights, but what is interesting is the subtle antagonism with which it is crafted.

From challenging consumers with “What Brands have done for you lately?”, to using a Psycho-Sociologist to conduct an interview which concludes the value of brands is largely emotional, read irrational, seems a very bold tact for a retailer publication to take straight out of the gate. Might be Yoplait will be needing one of those hugs before buying space in Issue #2.

Monoprix shoppers do tend to be more affluent, and are more likely to purchase branded products, so a concerted private label push could have a greater impact on brand sales than a similar push in a hypermarket like Auchan. We’ll continue to monitor the publication to see if this is a recurring theme.

Contributed by Ian Whitney, Integer Paris