Asda launches ‘no gimmicks’ Christmas ads

Asda has taken a swipe at rivals, saying it will not use gimmicks, promotions or celebrities in its Christmas ad campaign, instead focusing on its ‘unbelievable’ value and shining the spotlight on the stories behind its products.

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Featuring the strapline “You’re better off at Asda”, the campaign uses quintessential seasonal scenarios, such as making snowmen or hosting a drinks party, to showcase Asda’s products.

Two of the ads will debut on Saturday (9 November) during the X Factor. The supermarket has booked a three-minute takeover of the X Factor app during the show to support the launch, allowing users to create and share their own Asda snowmen for a chance to win an Asda shop worth £500.

The first 30-second spot, entitled ‘Snowmen’, shows a series of shabby snowmen and then one beaming snowman with a green hat and scarf, symbolising the difference between other supermarkets’ price match schemes and Asda’s, which promises to beat rivals prices by 10 per cent. The second ad, “Wine Lovers”, focuses on Asda’s “award-winning” wine.

Steve Smith, Asda’s chief marketing officer, says the supermarket’s customers are the “driving force” behind the campaign. Rather than producing “costly” campaigns, Asda is investing in lowering prices to help make their lives easier, he says.

“Our adverts won’t be celebrity filled features, they will shine a spotlight on the stories behind our great quality, award-winning products and the unbelievable value for money of our whole range of gifts, food and drink – the real stars of our show,” he adds.

The ads are a change from last year’s campaign, which focused on the Asda brand and featured a mum preparing for all aspects of Christmas while her family looked on.

Last year’s ad sparked 620 complaints alleging it reinforced outdated stereotypes and was sexist. Despite being criticised by campaign groups, social media users and the official complainants themselves, the ad was eventually cleared by the Advertising Standard Authority.

The ad is also the first by new agency VCCP Blue, which won Asda’s estimated £100m ad account in August. It replaced Saatchi & Saatchi, which became Asda’s lead creative agency in 2009.

Asda is looking to revamp its marketing to maintain its share of the supermarket sector as it comes under increased competition from discounters. Verdict estimates that the number of people using Aldi for their main shop has risen by 31.7 per cent in the past year, with 19.7 per cent of those switching from Asda, the biggest number relative to its market share.

Rivals including Sainsbury’s and Tesco are expected to unveil their Christmas marketing campaigns. Waitrose debuted its ads at the weekend, again highlighting its charitable effort, while M&S is incorporating its food business into its “Magic & Sparkle” campaign, which features actress Helena Bonham-Carter.

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