Like it or not, anyone who can’t recall the ‘More Reasons to Shop at Morrisons’ jingle, which last aired when George W Bush and Tony Blair were in power, is likely to have it ringing in their heads soon enough.
In fact, the supermarket’s chief marketing officer Rachel Eyre reckons its new campaign, which kicks off tonight with a prime spot during Corrie, will reach nearly half of all adults on day one of the campaign alone.
Alongside the returning strapline, the ads feature “real-life” customers in various everyday situations – enjoying a meal deal at the café, stealing their child’s doughnuts, and collecting “Morrisons fivers” at the till.
Judging by the heavyweight point of sale lined up, Morrisons has also gone big in store for one of its most expensive ever marketing blitzes. This marks not just the relaunch of its More card, but also an attempt by the retailer to get back in the races when it comes to loyalty and value, with the campaign the culmination of a new approach that’s been eight months or more in the works, says Eyre.
To do so it’s turned to an unashamed dose of “nostalgia”. Morrisons insists this is about being proud of its past, rather than yearning for a return to it, but no doubt it realises it has to wind back the clock if it is to regain competitiveness against the discounters and its traditional supermarket rivals.
When it comes to loyalty, Morrisons has been left not so much at the starting line, but still getting dressed in the changing rooms by the likes of Tesco, with the success of its Clubcard Prices scheme. Whether the takeover, ironically overseen by former Tesco supremo Terry Leahy, took its eye off the ball, or whether it has been the victim of other factors in the supply chain and its position in the middle of the pack, Morrisons has suffered from the cost of living crisis perhaps more than any of the other big supermarkets.
A multimedia campaign, even one as big as this, is not going to be enough on its own to get things back on track – but there are at least signs that it is serious about getting back on the front foot: a position, let us not forget, that it very much held during the pandemic. Nobody has nostalgia for those times, but CEO David Potts and co were regularly beating their rivals to the punch back then, only to be pegged back by difficulties keeping down inflation in Morrisons’ vertical supply chain model.
The Grocer has been keeping careful watch on its fightback since then. In October, we revealed it had begun trailing Tesco-style loyalty card-only prices, with offers on the likes of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Cadbury chocolate.
Now they are set to be rolled out more widely, with brands such as Nestlé, Pringles and Cathedral City in this week’s list – albeit still well behind the range of loyalty reductions at Tesco.
Morrisons is also counting on nostalgia for Morrisons Fivers (not that £5 goes very far these days) to help the More Card rebirth succeed in boosting its marketing share.
As The Grocer revealed in March, Morrisons is also relaunching its Savers range to coincide with the campaign, with bright new packaging and increased visibility, taking a leaf out of the book of another rival, Asda, and the success of its Just Essentials range.
But there are some interesting points of difference. Among the features of the More card’s redux which may give it an edge are points bonuses aimed at encouraging shoppers to use its meat and fresh counters – something Tesco can of course no longer do.
Bryan Roberts, global insights leader at IGD, says while Morrisons has a long way to go if it is to get back in the race, there are signs it is at least back on track.
“Incentivising shoppers for making use of its fresh meat and fish counters is exactly the sort of thing Morrisons needs to do,” he says.
“The point of sale Morrisons is putting to this certainly leaves shoppers in no doubt that the More card is back.”
Yet it will take more phases of this campaign before it can hope to even come close to Clubcard, which itself started with a relative handful of loyalty card-only recipes.
Whether Morrisons has the same power to convince shoppers that they are missing out big time if they get to the till without their loyalty card or app remains to be seen.
Likewise, whether it has the same power to influence the prices of its suppliers, many of whom of course, it owns – an advantage in so many ways over its rivals, but something that during the economic crisis has managed to become something of a thorn in its side.