Press Centre

In a UK first, party leaders to deliver election broadcasts exclusively to Asda shoppers

New research in the run up to the election shows that only one in a hundred Asda Mums trust politicians

In a first for UK retailers, Asda will open up its website to each of the main party leaders, having reached an agreement with them, in the run-up to the 2010 general election.

In mid-April, each of the main party leaders will post a supermarket broadcast designed exclusively to address the concerns of Asda shoppers. Hosted at www.asda.com/election2010, it will be the party leader’s opportunity to address shoppers at the store where the demographic profile of the 18m visitors per week closely matches the nation as a whole.

But while this will be the politicians’ opportunity to talk, Asda is also giving them the chance to listen to Asda customers. It has also invited each of the parties to provide a senior spokesperson to engage in an online webchat with shoppers. Asda expects the videos to be available at www.asda.com/election2010 from mid-April and it will also publish the webchat schedule for the run-up to polling day at that time.

Asda would like to thank Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, along with their Scottish and Welsh counterparts, Alex Salmond and Ieuan Wyn Jones for their willingness to open themselves up to its shoppers.

Asda’s move comes after it commissioned customer research which confirmed that trust in politicians by its customers was at an all-time low – only one in a hundred (100%) of Asda mums cited politics as a trustworthy profession – lower than bankers (4%) and CEOs (3%).

Active listening is at the heart of trust. Asda found that almost three-quarters (74%) of Asda Mums didn’t think that politicians listened to people like them and over two-thirds (68%) said that they’d never contacted their MP, many because they didn’t believe they would be listened to. Asda found that 70% of Asda mums would visit MPs surgeries if they were held in their local supermarket.

This research underlines how accessibility and trust will be significant issues in the General Election with MPs focusing their campaigns around a better understanding of the issues important to ordinary people.

Andy Bond, President and CEO of Asda, said:

“We know that the key to being a better business is to listen to, and actively involve our customers in what we do. We know that politicians are better politicians when they do this too. We hope Asda mums, who we know our political leaders want to reach, will appreciate the opportunities we’re creating to facilitate a dialogue during the campaign."

Shoppers who wish to take part in the webchats can pre-register questions on the website from today.

The supermarket broadcasts and webchats at www.asda.com/election2010 underline the extent to which this will be the UK’s first digital election, taking a lead from the 2008 US presidential race between senators McCain and Obama. The internet is providing new and innovative ways of engaging with the UK public, not only to get their message across, but to listen to the concerns of voters.

Over 80 per cent of Asda’s 18 million customers are women and as a key voting group with an influential voice, the retailer will be polling Asda Mums on issues that are important to them in the run up to polling day. The results will also appear at www.asda.com/election2010 alongside the party broadcasts. Issues that are already clearly important to Asda Mums in this election are the cost of living, education, crime and the NHS.

Posted in Press Centre on 29 March 2010