Nisa is launching a TV ad campaign that plays on confusion around how its name is supposed to be pronounced.

Despite operating for nearly 40 years, the retail buying group’s name has split shoppers and the trade alike, with some pronouncing it ‘Nicer’ (the correct way) and others saying ‘Neesa’.

The new ad will tell shoppers it does not matter how they pronounce the name.

Chief operating officer Amanda Jones said Nisa had decided against pushing people to say its name in a certain way because “everything around independent retailing is about embracing what’s different.”

“I checked into a hotel in Northern Ireland the other week and the receptionist said to me ‘is it ’Nicer’ or ‘Neesa?’’ and I said ‘it’s whatever you want it to be’. Our Northern Irish shoppers and retailers do call it ‘Neesa’ and a lot of our retailers in the mainland call it a mixture of both.”

The new ad will have a special screening at Nisa’s annual exhibition dinner at Stoneleigh Park on 8 April and will then break on TV on the morning of 9 April.

Nisa has already launched a teaser campaign on social media, with posts appearing on Facebook and Twitter over the past week with messages such as ‘We say April, you say…’, ‘We say friends, you say…’ and ‘We say mum, you say…’.

The new campaign comes after Nisa recently overhauled its marketing department. Jones said the size of the Nisa marketing team had increased threefold and become more consumer-focused. Consumer leaflets had been redesigned and Nisa had launched a new service allowing retailers to create their own customised leaflets, she added. Nisa is also conducting research to find out consumer views on promotions.

Nisa’s previous TV campaigns featured ‘Wolfred’, a bored dog outside a Nisa store.