Spark Foundry – Asda
Christmas 2022 was the first major festive season following the pandemic. That meant the pressure was on brands of all kinds to stand out. This was compounded by the onset of the cost-of-living crisis, with 80% of UK households experiencing a significant reduction in disposable income (The Score Survey). With the national conversation feeling gloomy, Asda needed to find a platform to inject some positivity, as well as convey the quality of the exceptional value of their products. Asda’s quality perception scored low versus its competitors, highlighting the need to educate and improve its reputation.
Despite heightened financial pressures, one thing was clear: customers were determined to celebrate an eagerly anticipated Christmas with their families, according to Asda’s Pulse of the Nation. Asda decided to focus on this hope for its 2022 campaign, injecting some joy back into Christmas with the help of a nostalgic, fun and festive character.
Looking to counteract a gloomy news agenda in the run up to the festivities, Asda turned to news brands to support the campaign’s tease and launch in an engaging environment for its target audience. The supermarket was confident of getting great positions and innovative formats and wanted to leverage news brands’ extensive reach in the UK.
The campaign introduced Will Farrell’s famous character ‘Buddy the Elf’ as Asda’s ‘chief quality officer’ for the Christmas season. Despite the worrying tone of the news agenda around the cost of living, the supermarket strategically placed Buddy in this context to demonstrate that Christmas is a time for celebration and enjoyment. Job ads calling for new Asda workers were placed in key titles – a role that Buddy would eventually fill.
To further fuel excitement in the launch phase, Asda used premium disruptive formats, including a mini wrap across the Evening Standard and Metro, to generate anticipation for the TV campaign. This use of news brands kickstarted the campaign with cost-effective impact.
The campaign was a huge success. It delivered a strong Christmas trade period for Asda and performed ahead of sales forecast. Asda’s value perception increased through Q4 and improved versus Tesco, according to Kantar. Asda performed strongly in the ‘big shop trip’ category, gaining 0.4 percentage points in share of trips and overtaking Aldi and Sainsbury’s in December to regain second place in market share at this key time for supermarkets.
It subverted category norms and was a really different take on Christmas in an incredibly competitive supermarket category.Grant Burke, managing director, OMD