Iceland has gone back to its roots with a new advertising campaign designed to drive home its credentials as the leading food shopping destination for busy mums.

The ads, announced as Iceland unveiled positive like-for-like sales for the first time in three years, follow a three-month customer research programme aimed at identifying Iceland customers, said Big Food Group CEO Bill Grimsey.

“We are refocusing on our core customers and this campaign hits them right on the head. The ‘Mum’s gone to Iceland’ campaign we ran in the 1990s had the highest recall of all our campaigns.”

The first new ad features a mum racing through an Iceland store to find a ready meal for her son.

She arrives home in time to prevent her toddler from breaking a vase and her teenage son from ruining a homemade cake, prompting the slogan, ‘Because mums are heroes’.

“We can hang all our other messages about products and deals around that central theme,” said Grimsey.

Although refurbished stores had driven Iceland’s 1.7% growth in like-for-like sales in the second quarter, the bulk of the estate was also showing positive sales growth, he added.

To date, 92 of Iceland’s 760 stores are trading under the new formats. By spring 2005, about half of the estate should be refurbished.

With 1,193 customers, Booker Premier has overtaken Costcutter to become the third biggest symbol group in the country behind Spar and Londis, he added. Booker’s Spend and Save loyalty scheme, which rewards high volume customer purchases with retrospective discounts, was also driving growth.

Category business planning along the lines of the work done with Coca-Cola on soft drinks ranging and merchandising would be replicated across every category over the next 18 months, he said.

Group like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to September 26 were up 2.2%, with Booker up 1.8%, Iceland up 1.7% and Woodward Foodservice up 20.7%.
Elaine Watson