The UK's supermarket giants are pinning their hopes for a bumper festive period on an advertising splurge in the run-up to Christma,s with Morrisons alone among the big four in cutting its ad spend compared with this time last year.

Tesco increased its spend on TV and print advertising in the four weeks to 25 November by almost 29% over the equivalent period last year to a massive £9.22m, according to exclusive data from media monitoring and analysis experts Billetts. Asda upped its outlay for the period by 9% to £8.82m, while Sainsbury's almost doubled its spend on print advertisements in a total budget that rose 17% to £6.93m.

Morrisons cut its overall outlay by just under 2% to £6.46m.

"Those supermarkets that have increased their TV ad spend are doing so with price-led ads," said Billetts' Richard Hemming. "Compared with the same period in 2008, most advertisers are running lighter-weight campaigns for their big Christmas branding advertisements."

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