Spark Foundry – Asda
Over the past year, economic, environmental and geopolitical events presented significant challenges for Asda. The rise in inflation exacerbated the already harsh cost-of-living crisis and nationwide food shortages ensued. Asda’s challenge was not only to navigate these hurdles but also to communicate effectively to customers the actions being taken to alleviate their pressures. Asda endeavoured to reassure customers, providing a light-hearted moment of relief during a period of record low consumer confidence.
Acknowledging that consumers were struggling, Asda saw an opportunity to play into this news agenda and stand out among competitors in news brands – proven sources of trusted information. Asda would have to work seamlessly across media agency, creative agency and news brands to leverage the real-time speed of editorial with tactical ads.
Asda partnered with The Sun and the Daily Mirror for their highly reactive, strategically placed and slightly tongue-in-cheek ad campaign. The first ad, featuring a prominent lettuce, urged readers to “Romaine calm” while assuring them that Asda’s efforts to restock would “bear fruit”. This ad was placed in The Sun beneath an article about a turnip shortage.
In the Daily Mirror, Asda highlighted its own brand beans next to an article discussing a Tory MP’s recommendation to buy Tesco Value beans instead of the pricier Heinz alternative. The ad used wordplay to convey that Asda was “full of beans,” demonstrating Asda’s understanding of the of rising cost-of-living crisis and providing an opportunity to showcase the favourable results of an independent taste test that ranked Asda’s beans superior to its competitors.
Asda’s ‘Romaine calm’ ad caught the attention of several trade titles, including Campaign, amassing significant positive sentiment towards the brand online. The Drum named the campaign of the ‘Best Ads of the Week’ (alongside Nike), saying: “Yet again, a print ad addressing a supply chain issue resonated with people”.
The ‘Romaine calm’ campaign successfully combined timely, witty messaging with strategic placement within trusted news brands to engage and comfort readers during a period of uncertainty.
Getting it signed off in a matter of hours, the agency writing it, the media planning it and spotting it, the client having the guts to sign it off, and the fact that it wasn’t a one off, was really impressive.Matt Willifer, chief strategy officer, Carat