Asda turns back on celebrity Xmas ads

Asda is eschewing the use of celebrities in its Christmas campaign this year, reflecting gloomy consumer sentiment about the contracting economy.

The move is in sharp contrast to last year’s Christmas campaign in which Julie Walters fronted 15 documentary-style ads based around the typical preparations for a staff Christmas party, hanging decorations, choosing presents and turning up to the venue in a limo. It was created by Fallon.

The move follows the news that rival Tesco has also ruled out the use of celebrities around the festive period (MW October 29). Tesco last year unveiled its most expensive and high-profile campaign to date, which starred the Spice Girls.

A spokesman for Asda says: “It is not as if we are following anyone’s lead in deciding not to use celebrities for Christmas. We already made a commitment not to use celebrities for Christmas and beyond in the current climate to save money and reduce costs. This will then help us to pass on those savings to our customers.”

Last year’s Asda Christmas campaign featured a series of celebrity appearances in the supermarket’s ads, including Liza Tarbuck as a checkout girl, Ian Wright on the fish counter, Victoria Wood in an Asda bakery and Paul Whitehouse in a dairy.

Meanwhile, British retail sales fell for the first time in three years as consumers tightened their belts in a sagging economy, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. The BRC reported total sales fell 0.1%, compared with last year – the first such fall since April 2005.

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