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George at Asda shuns celebrities for real women

George at Asda has revamped its image with a new logo and a 'real people' marketing campaign.

The supermarket brand, which for the last couple of years has used stars including WAG Coleen McLoughlin to push its clothing offer, has stepped away from celebrity endorsement claiming that customers now want to see the brand on real people.

George has developed a 10,000 strong customer database that it regularly quizzes about the brand. It claims that 72.3% of those customers would rather make a decision to buy an outfit based on seeing it on a “real” person than on a perfect celebrity body. Surprisingly, 79.1% of women told George they were not interested in what celebrities are wearing.

George maintains that the survey’s findings signal a shift in customer sentiment away from celebrity culture and claim that this is due to the credit crunch.

George brand director Fiona Lambert said: "There will always be an argument for using celebrities and big names in fashion, however our customers are telling us it’s time for a change. It feels wrong to spend money on a celebrity endorsement when times are tough and money is tight."

The brand claimed that it is investing the money it saves from shunning celebrities into the collection, by upping the quality of fabrics and yarns used without shifting prices upwards.

Lambert added: "We worked out how to pass these savings to our customers by lowering our prices while improving quality and design."

The new ad campaign will run from September 8, and the first adverts will showcase the George denim range. Advertising is planned to run across TV and print. The campaign will be updated every four weeks and new "models" will be chosen for each of the ranges. Lambert explained: "Using real people in our campaign provides more honesty to our customers, it shows how our clothes really look. Like many of our George customers, our first three models Ifeoma, Leigh and Fiona love fashion, but they also need to make considered decisions when they shop for clothes. The campaign reflects what the nation believes, that real people with real jobs are more valuable to us in these difficult times."

The George logo also has a new look after 18 years. It retains the black and white colour palette with the addition of a bright yellow ear on the "g".

It will start to appear in all campaigns and progressively throughout stores from September. By the end of this year, 40 stores will have the new-look branding.

The new marketing stance marks the next phase of an aggressive push at George for market share. Chief executive Anthony Thompson declared in March that the business aims to take back the top spot in volume clothing market share by 2011, and knock Tesco off its perch as number one supermarket by market share for clothing by the end of this year.

Earlier this year George announced it was re-structuring its collections to focus on its core customers, the 25 to 45 year-old market which represents 70% of its offer, and introducing two new sub brands Boston Crew and Moda to cater for the 45 plus market which represents 20% of sales, with G21 taking a lower profile serving its younger customers who make up the remainder.

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