Christmas Aldi Lidl

Morrisons banks on 'Match & More' and a catchy tune for Christmas turn-around


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

November 12, 2014 | 4 min read

Morrisons has unveiled its Christmas advert with a song that chief executive Dalton Philips hopes the “nation will be singing”, in a bid to end a difficult year on a high.

The supermarket suffered a 6.3 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in its most recent results, forcing it to lower is full year profit estimations.

However, the upbeat Christmas spot has seen the return of brand ambassadors Ant and Dec who form part of a “picture book” of scenes showing families enjoying Christmas traditions.

They all take a line of the song ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.

It ends on the tagline ‘Make Christmas Special’ with the 30-second version featuring an additional product promotion.

Philips said the music “is the real centre piece” of the campaign and as such it has inked a deal to sponsor Global Radio’s Jingle Bell Ball.

Boy band Union J has also recorded a version of the track, which will appear on the B-Side of their new single.

Speaking to The Drum, brand and communications director, Mike Hoban, said the campaign is driving both a price and a value message and has aimed to deliver it across all channels in a seamless way, something which he said some competitor’s campaigns have failed to do.

“What we’ve tried to do with this campaign is to say you don’t need to spend more than you need to but you don’t need to compromise,” he added.

Ant and Dec have featured less in the campaign than in previous years.

Hoban said: “You don’t need a lot of them. They’re a bit like vanilla in a cake – you don’t need a lot of it to give it that extra taste.”

While he declined to comment on the extent to which the pair will appear in marketing in 2015, Hoban revealed that it has renewed its sponsorship for Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway – which they both front.

In a bid to compete with discounters like Lidl and Aldi, Morrisons is relying heavily on its Match & More scheme which launched last month.

Over two million customers have signed up, beating expectations.

Hoban said the data gathered from the scheme is a new "tool" that it is still trying to understand, having previously relied on third party research to glean insights into consumer behaviour.

“In some respects our competitors have had these things already and have had the performance that they have. This is new for us and it gives us an advantage in that sense – we’ve not been playing with all of the tools in our bag. But we’re adding these things to our armoury of activity so we can be confident,” he said.

The data will be analysed post-Christmas with the insights informing how Morrisons targets its communications through email, direct marketing, and video on demand in the future.

“The data will help us to inform our campaigns better as well as our products, range, merchandising,” Hoban added.

He also responded to the cheeky stunt Lidl pulled on the back of Match and More's rollout, taking out an ad in the Sun suggesting shoppers should simply head to Lidl instead of going through the process of signing up.

"Confident brands understand what they want to communicate and concentrate on that. Brands that are rattled or are a bit unsure worry about what everyone else is doing. We’re concentrating on what we’re doing.w

The Christmas campaign has been created with agency of record DLKW and Three Monkeys and will air on Friday during ITV's Coronation Street.

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