Somerfield axes its ad agency

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The Independent Online
SOMERFIELD, THE struggling supermarket group, has parted company with its advertising agency in acrimonious circumstances as the group's marketing slides into disarray.

Somerfield said yesterday that it had dumped its agency, Leo Burnett, after just four months. "They didn't come up with the goods creatively," the company said.

However, Leo Burnett claimed to have resigned the account in protest against Somerfield's decision to oust its marketing director Phil Smith along with two other top marketing men.

The agency had complained that the "brand building" work it had been promised by Somerfield never materialised Instead it was left with only the "Annie the housewife" campaign originally created by another agency. The supermarket group has appointed McCann Erikson instead.

Somerfield has been reappraising its communications strategy and last month parted company with its financial public relations consultancy, Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

Somerfield denied yesterday that it was blaming its advisers for its poor trading performance. A spokesman said: "We have had a restructure and we have looked at the whole business strategy."

The group, which is run by chief executive David Simmons, announced a sharp slowdown in trading last month. It has decided to keep 300 Kwik Save branches, having originally planned to convert the entire chain to the Somerfield format.