Morrisons steps back from ‘I’m Cheaper’ positioning

Morrisons is stepping back from its ‘I’m Cheaper’ strapline, instead opting to promote ‘everyday low prices’ as it looks to get across the message that its recent price cuts are permanent.

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In-store, Morrisons has changed its point-of-sale to show the low price of its products with an arrow with a pound symbol inside pointing down and the words “everyday low prices” (EDLP). TV ads have also shifted messaging, with the latest showing products including carrots being picked for the supermarket and highlighting that Morrisons now offers EDLP.

Morrisons introduced the strapline “It’s the new cheaper Morrisons” in May to promote its “biggest ever” round of price cuts, which saw it lower the cost of more than 1,200 products. At the time, chief executive Dalton Philips suggested to Marketing Week that the marketing campaign would be temporary as it tries to get across a message that it is now “permanently cheaper”.

However the strapline has come in for some criticism, with analysts questioning the use of the word “cheap” because of its negative connotations. 

Speaking to Marketing Week, Morrisons marketing director Rebecca Singleton says the “I’m Cheaper” campaign played a key role in communicating the price cuts. Now the supermarket is looking to reassure on base prices and communicate to customers that those price cuts are not promotional but permanent.

“Back in May we needed to launch our price cuts with a big bang. [I’m Cheaper] played its roll and its now about making sure we are clear these are permanent price reductions,” she adds.

Singleton says the new PoS has several objectives, including improving ease of shop, reducing clutter and making Morrisons’ communication really clear and consistent. The supermarket is also hoping to improve its value projection by making promotions clearer and more relevant and boost brand affinity by making more use of the Morrisons yellow.

“This sets our communications strategy going forward. We are being really clear and much more simple in our communications. Ultimately customers will really appreciate that,” says Singleton.

Asda also uses an “everyday low price” message but Singleton says she is not concerned about this because it is “industry-standard language”. Tesco is currently using a “Prices down and staying down” message, while Sainsbury’s continues to focus on values in its marketing.

Morrisons is trying to improve a performance that saw sales at stores open for more than a year slump to 7.1 per cent for the quarter to 4 May, down from a 5.6 per cent fall over Christmas and 2.8 per cent drop in the same quarter a year ago. More recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel show Morrisons’ sales fell 3.8 per cent year on year in the 12 weeks to 20 July.

Morrisons is hoping the focus on price will help attract more shoppers to its stores as it attempts to fight back against the discount grocers Aldi and Lidl, both of which are experiencing double-digit sales increases. It is also extending opening hours at nearly half its stores with the aim of boosting footfall and sales, with 230 of its shops now open from between 6am and 11pm.

There are plans for local marketing to communicate the new hours, mostly in-store. Morrisons will also launch geotargeted campaigns on mobile.

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