Asda is understood to be talking to advertising agencies about its George clothing and homeware brand, though the discussions are believed to be informal at this stage and are not expected to affect Publicis’ hold on the retailer’s flagship &£40m advertising business.
The Leeds-based supermarket chain, currently battling Sainsbury’s for second place behind Tesco for UK grocery market share, is set to begin talks in the coming weeks.
No one at Asda was available to comment on the discussions, but it is believed marketing director Richard Hodgson agrees to occasionally meet non-roster agencies to assess what is on offer, rather than as part of a full-blown pitch.
Earlier this year, Asda launched its George Home range in a bid to follow parent company Wal-Mart into homewares and furnishings. Initial items included bathroom furniture, which will be followed by other products such as coffee tables, shelves and dining room chairs. Asda decided to introduce the range following the success of the George fashion label.
Alongside 15 new supermarkets and hypermarkets, Asda is set to open a suite of general merchandise stores branded “Living” and several standalone George clothing outlets this year.
Meanwhile, Asda has signed Newcastle striker Michael Owen to star in its World Cup television advertising campaign following Wayne Rooney’s injury. Owen had starred in the retailer’s advertising during the 2004 European Championships, and has stepped in while England colleague Rooney recuperates from a broken foot.