Dunnes Stores outspends rivals in pre-Christmas advertising

Retailer accounts for over 18% of advert expenditure in 12 weeks before Christmas

Dunnes stores; retailer accounted for 18.3 per cent of the advertising spend in the 12 weeks before Christmas, just ahead of Aldi at 16.9 per cent and Lidl at 16.8 per cent

Dunnes stores; retailer accounted for 18.3 per cent of the advertising spend in the 12 weeks before Christmas, just ahead of Aldi at 16.9 per cent and Lidl at 16.8 per cent

 

The battle for the hearts and trollies of consumers last Christmas was fought out through advertising, with Dunnes Stores emerging as the top spender.

The retailer accounted for 18.3 per cent of the advertising spend in the 12 weeks before Christmas, just ahead of Aldi at 16.9 per cent and Lidl at 16.8 per cent, according to the latest Supermarket Ad Tracker report produced for the industry’s Checkout magazine in association with Nielsen. Advertising spend by retailers was 2.7 per cent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Tesco and SuperValu, the two retailers which had topped the spend table during the same period a year earlier, were fourth and fifth last year, with Tesco achieving a share of 16.6 per cent and SuperValu 15.7 per cent.

Press attracted most of the spend – with 58.8 per cent going on newspaper advertising, followed by TV at 31.2 per cent, radio 8.5 per cent and outdoor 1.5 per cent.

But while the spend on print advertising remained static, there was a growth in television spend during the period, indicating that supermarkets see the potential of television advertising as part of brand-building strategy, complementing the mostly everyday special offers, product announcement role of newspaper advertisements.

Dunnes Stores, for example, aired its “Something for everyone this Christmas” TV spots an atmospheric advertisement featuring a multigenerational family on Christmas Day, designed for an emotional response rather than a rush to the till with a two-for-one offer. At the same time its “12 Days of Christmas” campaign promoted special offers and discounts.

Lidl ramped up its television spend with its “Lidl Bit of Magic” festive spots. The Supermarket Ad Tracker does not include online marketing spend.

That discounters Aldi and Lidl were in the top three in terms of spend also reflects changed consumer sentiment. When they first entered the Irish market, Christmas was a time when discount retailers would take a back seat, knowing that shoppers were more inclined to push the boat out on treats and more expensive products. Not any more.

“Traditionally, the run-up to Christmas has been a time when consumers ‘returned’ to the mainstream supermarkets and reduced their spend in Aldi and Lidl,” said said Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor of Checkout. “In the run-up to Christmas 2011, this changed, and consumers continued to spend at the discounters all year round. As Christmas 2012 approached, Aldi and Lidl picked up on this trend, and really ramped up their marketing presence.”

SuperValu’s placing of fifth on the spend league table is somewhat surprising given its relaunch of its brand earlier in the year.

First-quarter figures on supermarket advertising spend for 2013 will be interesting to note when Checkout’s next Supermarket Ad Tracker is released, as it will cover the most intense period of the horse meat scandal.