10m Safeway threat to press

Safeway is planning to axe its entire 10m national newspaper advertising budget and put it into television, after a review of its media strategy.

The supermarket giant’s marketing director Roger Partington is considering switching the budget into TV, following research by its media buying agency Zenith Media.

According to sources, the company had a media test in Scotland where it pulled ads from Mirror Group’s Daily Record last year. “The research showed that national newspaper advertising was an ineffective medium for retail advertising,” says a source close to the company, “TV advertising was much more effective.”

Safeway’s total ad budget for 1996 was 29m (Register-MEAL).

Safeway’s TV commercials feature child characters Harry and Molly, who was introduced last May.

One managing director of a major media agency says that the step would be unprecedented. “I would be very surprised if Safeway made this move,” he says. “I can’t see how it could turn round a quick price promotion by just using TV. I think that it may well have to return to press in the near future.”

Safeway introduced the ABC loyalty card scheme in October 1995 and has refocused a large proportion of its marketing budget on promoting its ABC card.

Partington was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

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