Morrisons’ marketing strategy has evolved noticeably over the past year from one pushing a message primarily about freshness to one that also highlights price.

Last July signalled a massive change in tack for the retailer’s advertising. It had just dropped its More Reasons To Shop at Morrisons slogan and brought in Fresh Choice For You and wanted to inject some down-to-earth celebrity appeal to the brand.

Cue the first of several TV ad campaigns fronted by Denise van Outen and featuring a host of TV celebrities including Diarmuid Gavin, Helen Baxendale, Alan Hansen, Nick Hancock, Melanie Sykes and Richard Hammond.

The message was freshness – the celebrity would walk through countryside with a shopping trolley and talk about how they liked their food fresh and homemade, finally ending up in a Morrisons store.

It was a simple strategy, but it worked. Last month, this campaign won the Marketing Week Award for Retail and a silver medal at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s Effectiveness Awards.

Morrisons claimed it had “generated an estimated payback of £13 for every £1 spent”.

Until September this year, Morrisons spent significantly more each month on advertising than it did in 2007. Over this time, its message changed subtly, however.

It supplemented its ‘fresh’ message with a ‘price’ message. Its Price Crunch at Morrisons slogan first appeared in July as it tried to attract and retain increasingly price-sensitive customers.

Although it spent more than £3.3m across TV and press in October, this was 48% lower than the same period in 2007 and the lowest of the big four.

It was spread fairly evenly between national press and TV and focused predominantly on Price Crunch. However, it is still promoting its ‘fresh’ message too, notably with its new festive campaign on the basis that consumers are less budget-conscious in the festive season.

The new campaign, which features Richard Hammond, broke on 6 November. In January, we’ll find out whether the campaign, which kicked off the same week as Somerfield’s, Tesco’s and Sainsbury's festive campaigns, was on the money.