Asda has appointed Aldi’s former marketing director Adam Zavalis as vice-president of marketing, describing him as a “key strategic hire”.
Zavalis spent eight years at the discounter over two stints and played a key role in creating and developing initiatives including Aldi’s ‘Like Brands’ campaign, its sponsorship of Team GB, and its long-running Kevin the Carrot Christmas campaign. Under his leadership, Aldi was also crowned Brand of the Year at the 2022 Marketing Week Awards.
At Asda he has been tasked with leading Asda’s marketing team and agency partners on the creation of campaigns, designed to highlight the brand’s products and prices.
Zavalis will join Asda in November and report to chief customer officer David Hills, who he previously worked with at Aldi. Hills is a recent addition to Asda’s team, having joined in September to replace former chief customer officer Meghan Farren who left the role after less than a year to return to KFC as managing director of the UK. Acting chief customer officer Sam Dickson managed the role on a temporary basis in the meantime.
At the time of Hills’ appointment, the move was seen as a defensive strategy by Asda to fend off Aldi, which had just displaced Morrisons as the country’s fourth-largest supermarket chain.
Hills says: “Adam is a key strategic hire for the customer function and brings a wealth of retail and grocery experience to this role from his time at Aldi and Boots.
“His creative instinct and track record of delivering industry-leading creative campaigns will be a great addition to Asda as we move forward on our journey to deliver outstanding quality products at incredible prices to UK customers.”
Zavalis spent nearly two years at Boots as its VP brand and marketing communications director, during which time he spear headed the launch of an in-house creative agency and increased its focus on mass personalisation.
Zavalis left Aldi in May. His departure followed that of co-marketing director Sean McGinty in December last year, who left to take up the top marketing job at Dunelm.
Zavalis describes Asda as a “much-loved brand”, which is “part of the fabric of many communities right across the UK”.
“It is a business with a rich history as a consumer champion and an exciting future, which I am delighted to be part of,” he adds.
The news of Zavalis’s appointment comes as Lidl overtakes Asda as the third-largest supermarket in London, according to Kantar data. The discounter has hit a market share of 9.1% as a result of a £500m investment in brand-building in the capital having launched nine new stores in 2022. In addition to its growth within London, Lidl was also named fastest-growing supermarket in the UK as a whole.
Asda has been making significant investments in its retail media capabilities and a focus on price as it seeks to fend off that increased competition from both brick-and-mortar and digital supermarket rivals.