Asda is launching a campaign in collaboration with Downton Abbey that focuses on quality over price and looks to highlight how food is always firmly at the heart of every British home.
Set in Downton Abbey’s famous kitchen, the 30-second ad sees Mrs Patmore, played by actress Lesley Nicol, prepare a feast for a visit from the Royal family. It then switches to the present day and the voiceover says: “With thousands of rollbacks, you don’t need to pay a king’s ransom.”
“Mrs Patmore knows that every great meal starts with great ingredients,” says Eilidh Macaskill, Asda’s vice-president of creative media.
“At Asda, we aim to provide customers with delicious, low-cost meal ideas that don’t compromise on quality and are simple enough to fit around even the busiest of schedules.”
In addition to the main spot, which coincides with the release of the Downton Abbey film on 13 September, Asda will air two 10-second ads to showcase its range of branded family favourites.
It is a change from Asda’s usual focus on price and value, and a stark contrast from its Christmas ad – the first piece of major creative it had done since signing up AMV BBDO to lead its new agency ecosystem model.
Yet the supermarket is making a conscious effort to boost its quality perceptions.
Speaking to Marketing Week earlier this year, Asda’s chief customer officer, Andy Murray, said an important part of Asda’s new strategy is moving the message beyond price, especially as the German discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to grow their market share.
“Clearly price is important but the fact that they can get the things they want under one roof without compromise. Discounters can have good prices but you do have to compromise on range,” Murray said.
“We’ll talk about quality at times more than price. It depends on the product category and barriers we’re trying to overcome.”
While YouGov’s BrandIndex shows consumer perception of Asda’s quality has largely been on an upward trajectory over the last four years, Asda is being outperformed by all the major UK supermarkets.
Currently, Sainsbury’s scores 43.7 for quality, while Morrisons scores 26.5, Tesco 25.4, Aldi 24.8 and Lidl 17.6. Asda sits in 11th place with a score of 13.
Lidl, too, is shifting the focus of its marketing communications to talk more about its quality and range and less about price.
“We want to make it really clear that we are big on quality, and it’s a quality that can be found in everything that we sell, the things that people really care about, not just the occasional product,” Lidl’s marketing director, Claire Farrant, told Marketing Week in June.
“We’re not as famous for quality in the way we are for price. We felt that we needed to start speaking with real authority and celebrating how proud we are to be one of the fastest growing retailers, with our stores full to the brim with high-quality products.”