Asda marches on London with ads to woo shoppers

Asda is mounting a£1.5 million ad push in London and the Southeast in an attempt to steal shoppers in Sainsbury's traditional heartland.

The grocer has already received 'thousands of calls' from potential customers in the areas after buying all the display advertising space in the London Evening Standard on Thursday last week.

That marked the start of Asda's marketing blitz in the capital. Working with media planning firm Carat, the retailer will also run ads in other regional newspapers, promotions on London radio stations and billboard posters at the capital's railway stations.

Asda wants to change southern shoppers' perception of the brand and will highlight quality products such as its Extra Special food lines, non-food lines and George clothing.

Asda marketing director Chris Pilling said: 'The campaign seems to have struck a chord judging by the reaction we have had. Thousands of people have rung our call centre in Leeds wanting to know where their nearest Asda store is. We're on a roll down south.'

Pilling said that Asda has invested about£200 million on refurbs and store openings over the past couple of years in London and the Southeast.

Asda has 50 shops in the region - about a quarter of its portfolio. The retailer will open a store at Barking in Essex in October, and one on the Old Kent Road, south London, in December. Two months ago it opened its second Asda/Wal-Mart Supercentre in the region, at Basildon in Essex.