Lara O'Reilly

The supermarket has kicked off a #ChosenByMe campaign across social media and with stickers on selected product to encourage customers to share their favourite products in the range for a chance of their Twitter handle appearing on a box of frosted flakes, or their Facebook profile pic garlanded above the pick your own pizza station across Asda’s stores.

It is hoped the move will aggregate the existing goodwill about the Chosen By You range that already exists on social media and act as signposts in-store for customers to easily locate the top “trending” products, so to speak.

A invitation for social media users to share their views via a hashtag can sometimes be as risky as walking into a big cat enclosure wearing a suit made of sirloin steak (incidentally, currently 2 for £7 at Asda). With horror stories like McDonald’s #McDStories campaign  or Starbucks’ #SpreadTheCheer, a marketer could be forgiven for not wanting to throw themselves into the lions’ den too.

But so far the #ChosenByYou participants appear to have been broadly positive (although I doubt @GuyCalledKokie’s eclectic suggestion of “Weed, bacon and lots of cheese” will be making it to the aisles any time soon) – if a little dull. As Marketing Week reader “Tony” commented on our original story about the campaign: “I don’t really care what saddos that have nothing better to do have been saying about Asda products on Twitter”.

Bit harsh perhaps, Tony, but you make a salient point. Does anyone really care that Gordon thinks his favourite product is “King Prawn Linguine – without a doubt”?

That’s not to say that consumers don’t care what others think – of course they do. Research conducted last year by Reevoo, found 88 per cent of consumers “sometimes or always” consult a review when making a purchase – although, of course, these are most likely not vetted by the retailer, as per the Asda campaign.

That said, retailer Waterstones’ simple tactic of including hand-written recommendations on the front covers of a selection of its staff and customers’ favourite books does grab a shoppers’ attention and must go some way to influence purchase decisions [although no data on this could be sourced at the time of writing] – despite the fact that the glowing positive reviews are an obvious marketing tactic.

There’s already plenty of Asda shoppers vying for their chance to have their social media handles propelled into the spotlight by appearing across Chosen For You’s in-store marketing – probably a mixture of genuine goodwill and those wanting to boost their Twitter follower count.

To beat off the cynics and to make sure the campaign acts beyond clever gimmick to actually shifting product, Asda can’t just pepper its products with garish stickers declaring “Pam says ‘yum!’”. Pam should be offering Asda mums nifty 140-character tips: “Peri-Peri chicken – a perfect extra pizza topping” or “Chocolate chip cookies – I crumble them up and mix them with the raspberry ripple ice cream” and so on.

Adding a real – and, importantly, traceable – face to a product or a POS barker is a far more credible asset than Asda singing its own praises but the supermarket must ensure the content is worthwhile customers taking their time to read if the initiative is to be a success.