There are two new brooms in charge at Morrisons – chairman Andrew Higginson and CEO David Potts, both old Tesco hands – with a ‘new’ strategy of taking the northern-based supermarket chain back to what it used to be, a reliable and low cost purveyor of fresh meat, fish and vegetables.
They don’t seem to have much of a choice as Morrisons’ market share and profits have suffered mightily at the hands of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, to a greater extent even than Tesco.
And, just as new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis axed Wieden+Kennedy in favour of BBH and set about reviewing his £100m media account at Initiative, ad changes seem to be on the way at Morrisons.
Morrisons advertising, through DLKW Lowe, has been fronted recently by popular ITV pair Ant and Dec (Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, below and not doing very much, to be honest). But they’re reported to be out as Morrisons has declined to sign a new one-year deal.
Which is bound to lead to speculation that the whole account, worth around £70m, will be reviewed. Morrisons last reviewed a couple of years ago when Lowe beat off challenges from, among others, the mighty adam&eveDDB.
The spring is a dangerous time for ad agencies with big retail accounts. Christmas has become so important to retailers of all persuasions that the early part part of the year is the ideal time to review so that the new agency has time to get its Christmas ducks in a row. And one way for new managers to show they’re doing something is to appoint a gleaming new ad agency.