Asda, MoneySuperMarket, Boots: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From Asda’s agency ecosystem model and relationship with AMV, to MoneySuperMarket’s brand relaunch and Boots’s beauty overhaul, catch up on all the biggest news from the last seven days.

Behind the scenes of Asda’s new agency model

2019 is set to be a very different year for Asda than the last.

Christmas marked a change in creative direction for the retailer with its ‘Bring it Home’ campaign and this is a theme we will see the supermarket continue to build on throughout the year.

It is also the first full year with agency AMV, which has been spearheading Asda’s agency ecosystem model since last April.

Already, Asda says it is working on campaigns and marketing activities eight weeks sooner than this time last year. The process is simpler and more cost-effective too, Asda says, and rival supermarkets will no doubt be watching Asda with a close eye.

As the client-agency model continues to change and evolve, with many questioning the role of often slow-moving and old-fashioned agencies in 2019, Asda’s ecosystem model certainly seems to be an appealing one.

If it is seeing results like this now, unless something goes terribly wrong or the proposed merger with Sainsbury’s has an unexpected impact, we should only expect these results to improve.

On the creative front, Asda’s main goal is to bring some consistency to help broaden its customer base and boost memorability.

An important part of this will be moving the message beyond price, especially as the German discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to grow their market share.

Time will tell if this has the desired effect on UK shoppers. The results will, of course, be in the numbers.

READ MORE: Faster, simpler, cheaper: How Asda’s agency ecosystem model is working

MoneySuperMarket relaunches brand as it looks to shake up price comparison

MoneySuperMarket has relaunched its brand with a new logo, redesigned website and apps, revamped brand positioning and new marketing campaign as it looks to shake up price comparison and boost engagement.

Created by Engine, which was appointed to the account last year, the campaign aims to reposition MoneySuperMarket as a place where consumers can “get money calm”. That flows through to a new focus on customer experience, with the company hoping new services such as bill monitoring and credit checking will offer it more chances to talk to people in a more relevant way and boost loyalty.

Price comparison is a notoriously fickle market, perhaps unsurprising given the services literally encourage users to shop around for the best deal. But constantly reacquiring customers is costing the companies in the sector millions and means those that shout the loudest at any given time typically win market share.

Recently, the companies have looked to engender some loyalty – Comparethemarket through a two-for-one cinema ticket offer and both it and GoCompare with membership to dining clubs. MoneySuperMarket is taking a different route, however, hoping that a more useful and engaging experience and more personalised service will win over consumers.

It’s a big bet requiring the company to ensure all aspects of its business – from commercial to marketing, tech to product – understand what the brand stands for and where it is going and work to the same goal. It seems that has been achieved for the brand relaunch but keeping it going through the coming weeks and months will be the challenge.

READ MORE: MoneySuperMarket relaunches brand as it looks to make price comparison more engaging

Industry tries to tackle alarmingly low rates of trust in advertising

Keith Weed

Data from a range of sources including Edelman, Facebook and the Advertising Association (AA) makes for some pretty grim reading for the advertising industry. Trust is on the decline; according to Edelman, advertising is now in last place out of all industries measured with a trust level of just 37%, while people’s favourability towards advertising has declined from around 50 in the early 1990s to just 25% in 2018.

Even a cursory glance at the ad industry will give some hints as to what is leading this decline. Consumers are bombarded with ads, there have been headlines about advertising funding terrorism and a race to create ads more cheaply has reduced the quality. That is before more recent issues such as influencer marketing, online fraud, fake news and data concerns.

Having identified the problem, the ad industry is now coming together to try to tackle the issue. Speaking at ISBA’s annual conference on Tuesday (5 March), Keith Weed, marketing boss at Unilever and president of the AA outlined the key ways the industry can fight back.

There are hygiene issues to address, he said, ranging from reducing bombardment and excessive frequency to helping support the Advertising Standards Authority and showing how advertising can drive positive change. But key is to get the industry back to “creating great advertising”.

“We need business cases to prove to people that actually what they are doing is not good for brands,” said Weed, speaking at Marketing Week Live yesterday. “What we need to do is help the industry understand that what seems to be a cheap and easy way [to reach consumers] is actually counter-productive.”

He added: “The best way to get people to trust advertising more is to create great advertising.”

The message is sound but getting the industry to come together on this will be the test. It has proved notoriously difficult to get brands, publishers, tech platforms and agencies all singing from the same sheet. And despite all the difficulties that have afflicted the tech platforms, most brands seem keen to put money into cheap and easy rather than looking longer term.

READ MORE: Keith Weed – Great advertising is the best way to build trust

Boots to give 24 stores a beauty makeover


24 Boots stores are set to get a complete makeover next month, with the high street retailer replacing traditional beauty counters with trending zones, discovery areas and live demonstration areas.

In addition to this, more than 200 beauty specialists will be trained to work in-store and offer customers advice, with more than 20 new beauty brands and 805 products set to be introduced in the next six months.

It is a big move for the 170-year-old retailer and indicative of a fast-changing beauty industry that is being driven by lots of tech innovation. You only have to look at L’Oreal and Coty to see examples of this, with augmented reality and experience-led stores setting the bar high.

And it seems like Boots has finally woken up to the fact it cannot rely on heritage alone. It believes it can “revolutionise” the beauty industry but it is not the first to do this and will have to do much more in the coming years to make sure it gives itself a point of difference in a competitive and dynamic market.

It says this overhaul only represents the first few steps of that journey, so it will be interesting to see how Boots stores evolve over the coming years and if it can offer fickle consumers something they can’t get elsewhere.

READ MORE: Boots aims to ‘reinvent’ retail experience with dramatic beauty overhaul

Diageo ramps up efforts to improve gender diversity

Diageo is well-known for the work it does around diversity and has many accolades to prove it.

This week it unveiled its latest efforts to address gender balance in advertising with a short film coinciding with International Women’s Day.

The six-and-a-half minute film discusses the role of advertising in shaping culture, the historic misrepresentation of women, and strategies and partnerships to support more progressive gender portrayal in content.

It also focuses on the importance of diversity in the advertising industry itself, which is still dominated largely by white men in spite of numerous conferences, organisations and key individuals calling for change for a number of years.

Diageo’s CMO Syl Saller says she is “convinced” the industry can normalise gender equality with what it shows in its ads and who it chooses to make them.

She’s right. But it is going to take a collective effort to get there. Brands and businesses need to put their money where their mouth is and actually make changes and not just talk about it.

Let’s hope 2019 is the year they start to up their game and do what’s needed to not only make the industry more inclusive and better place to work, but also improve the advertising around us and have a positive impact on culture and society.

READ MORE: Diageo puts spotlight on lack of gender equality in advertising



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