Morrisons chairman says big four’s ads aren’t properly talking to customers

Morrisons’ chairman Andrew Higginson says the obsession with ‘manufacturing deals’ is making the ads of the big-four supermarkets ‘only talk to one another rather than directly to consumers.’

Speaking at today’s Lead 2015 event from the Advertising Association, Higginson says Morrisons and Tesco had ‘failed by driving shareholder value rather than driving true consumer spend’.

“Post-recession, too often the accountants are winning at the likes of a Tesco. While the discounters have successfully stuck to customer engagement, the big four supermarkets have been too guilty of backing the mantra of improving returns,” said Higginson.

Morrisons revealed a 3.1% drop in LFL sales in the six weeks to Jan 4 – a poor festive return that resulted in the exit of chief executive Dalton Philips.

Higginson, also the former  Financial director of Tesco, however, said Morrisons will now look to re-engage directly with its customers as it starts a turnaround strategy from recent woes.

“The big-four’s price-focused ‘we’re cheapest’ ads haven’t truly spoken to the customer but only to one another and that’s benefitted Aldi and Lidl not because they’ve got any cheaper but because they’ve stuck to the customer. All supermarkets claim to be cheaper but the reality is very different and there’s an element of dishonesty at rivals.  At Morrisons we need to push actually listening and engaging with customer feedback over endless weak promotions.”

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