Asda and Saatchi rest hopes on the Martin effect

Saatchi & Saatchi has signed up TV chef James Martin to front its first campaign since winning back the business from VCCP.

Asda is in a right old mess, bludgeoned by Aldi and Lidl and facing a slowly recovering Tesco in the nether regions of the supermarket market. CEO Andy Clarke is stepping down in the wake of comments from owner Walmart’s CEO David Cheesewright that its performance is “very disappointing.”

Newly-installed marketing boss andy Murray has wasted no time in his short tenure. The founder of Saatchi & Saatchi shopper agency Saatchi X, Murray moved the business back to his old agency without a pitch, appointing Publicis Group media agency Blue449 at the same time.

The affable Martin who, I suspect, wouldn’t be seen dead in Asda in real life despite his Yorkshire roots – or cooking steaks for seven-year olds – is a pro, one who’s clearly able to knock out a series of commercials in double quick time.

Martin recently quit as the long-serving host of the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. Presumably because of his decision to take the Asda shilling.

This won’t be troubling award juries but it’s the best Asda has managed in decades. It’s already closing on a million YouTube views which testifies to the Martin effect.

MAA creative scale: 6.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.