Asda drops Saatchi & Saatchi as advertising agency

The Asda account is one of the biggest advertising contracts in the UK and is estimated to be worth £100m.

Saatchi & Saatchi has worked with the retailer since 2009, but the end of its contract also means the end of Asda’s 20-year relationship with Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi’s parent company.

Saatchi & Saatchi was founded by Charles and Maurice Saatchi in 1970, but the brothers left to form M&C Saatchi in 1995 after a row with the company’s shareholders.

The company was used by Baroness Thatcher to create the “Labour isn’t working” poster in the run-up to the 1979 general election and was also behind the British Airways advert that proclaimed the airline “The World’s Favourite Airline”.

At Asda, Saatchi & Saatchi has overseen the retailer’s “Price Lock” campaign that pledged to keep the price of key grocery items such as milk at a consistent price.

Its Christmas advert for Asda last year attracted 620 complaints because of claims it was sexist by showing a mother organising a family’s Christmas. However, these complaints were dismissed by the Advertising Standards Agency.

Asda is thought to be considering signing up JWT London or VCCP to be its new advertising agency. The company, which owned by US retail group Walmart, declined to comment.

Last week, Asda reported like-for-like sales growth of 0.7pc for the 12 weeks to July 5, a slowdown on the 1.3pc in the first quarter of the year.

Andy Clarke, chief executive, said Asda’s strategy of holding down prices on essential food items such as milk is “working”. He said there was “significant” price inflation among its rivals, despite the voucher campaigns launched by Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and pledged that Asda will not be distracted by “gimmicks”.

The change of agency at Asda comes after Chris McDonough, formerly of Molson Coors, was hired as its new marketing director earlier this year.


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