Asda boss dismisses 'sexist' Christmas ad complaints

Asda: Christmas ad campaign to be investigated by the ASA
Asda: Christmas ad campaign to be investigated by the ASA

Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has come out in defence of its Christmas campaign, claiming it is "a great ad" after the ad watchdog launched an investigation into it.

Clarke, speaking at the unveiling of the company's third-quarter results, claimed it was never the intention to offend and added that Asda customers supported the campaign, which has been accused of sexism against women and men, and has attracted more than 180 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

He said: "The first thing to say is did we intend to offend anybody? Of course not. The majority of people who shop at our stores are mums, and mums have said to us either individually or in listening groups that it is a great reflection of how the pace of Christmas can take over when you are in a busy household."

Clarke's comments came as the supermarket revealed like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, were up 0.3% for the 13 weeks ending 29 September. Asda increased its market share by 0.1% to 17.5% during the same period, according to research from Kantar.

Judith McKenna, chief operating officer at Asda, took the opportunity to describe the brand's multi-channel offering ahead of a Christmas that she believes will be a "tipping point" for online retail.

Asda's online sales have almost doubled in value since 2010, when it revealed the channel was driving around half-a-billion pounds in revenue.

Mobile is a particular concern for Asda, with McKenna claiming that two-thirds of mothers who shop at Asda have a smartphone, which is above the 50% national average for smartphone penetration.

A year ago, virtually no Asda online orders came via mobile. Now the supermarket is claiming some 16% of online orders are coming from mobile devices.

Asda is focusing on getting the basics right as it seeks to "leverage" the talent, innovation and technology of parent company Walmart.

McKenna said: "Bells and whistles are seriously over-rated when you are time-poor. Our strategy is very much not about being tetchy – it is about being practical."

Asda claims it has the most engagement of the UK major grocers on Facebook, citing a post it made about retro toy Furby receiving 80,000 "likes" and driving 10,000 click-throughs to the Asda Direct site.

Despite its popularity on Facebook – its fans have grown from 70,000 to 500,000 since the start of the year – Asda is hinting it will not commit to selling directly on the social network.

McKenna said: "It isn't just about selling. That is the really important thing about the way we use Facebook and actually we need to guard against being constantly selling with it, because what it is really about is this relationship we build and the engagement over a period of time."

Asda is also planning to launch a TV ad before Christmas promoting its click-and-collect offering for its general merchandise range.

The retailer plans to roll out click-and-collect to 100 stores by the end of the year and an additional 100 next year, while it will also launch a grocery pick-up point at its first Asda Living store, which does not sell food in-store.

In addition, it will also experiment with opening its first standalone click-and-collect store on a business park and will trial click-and-collect at some petrol forecourts.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
ASH runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad
Powerade launches global World Cup campaign
Burberry's flagship Shanghai store facade responds to weather changes
Subway considers taking fast food to fast lane with F1 sponsorship
Ikea splurges 'grey' Belgium with colour
Grim outlook for Tesco boss Philip Clarke ahead of expected profits fall
Thomson to create first crowd-sourced wedding decided by Facebook fans
Currency wars meets origami in Alpari FX trading ad campaign
Amazon rumoured to launch 3D smartphone in September
Facebook to allow European users to store and transfer money on site, claims report
Unilever pilots multi-brand advertising with YouTube beauty channel
Lego, Coca-Cola, Net-a-Porter, Bitcoin and AOL: the digitally creative brands
Dove tries to tell women their beauty is innate through placebo patches
Wonga faces social media storm after forcing Twitter to remove satirical material
Spotify tells the stories of relationships with music
Skype contrasts real stories with 'saccharine' style of Google and Apple
Top 100 UK advertisers: BSkyB increases lead as P&G, BT and Unilever reduce adspend
Viral Review: One Direction perfume 'prankvert' should have been a bigger hit
German beer brand Warsteiner tells drinkers to 'do it right'
SSE signs 10 year deal to sponsor Wembley Arena
Co-op bank posts losses of £1.3bn and expects no profits for two years