New spot to celebrate Morrisons’ 125th anniversary taps into its humble beginnings

‘From market stall to market street’,’ Morrisons’ latest TV ad celebrates 125 years of serving customers fresh British food. The work by Leo Burnett is inspired by the brand’s origin story and plays out how it has changed since 1899.

Through clever marketing over many decades, we’ve come to know Morrisons as the supermarket that specialises in fresh produce. And it’s no surprise, really, given the company was founded in 1899 by William Morrison, who began his business as a market stall in Bradford.

But as competition among supermarkets is as fierce as ever, how does one continue to communicate differentiation? Leo Burnett was tasked with the challenge of creating a campaign that would not only celebrate Morrisons’ 125th anniversary but also remind us of its heritage and USP.

The 40-second spot – Over The Counter, Over The Years (nicely done, Matthew Wood) – follows a charming conversation between Morrisons colleagues and customers, played out over many decades. It shows that while much has evolved since 1899, our passion for fresh food remains. Today, Morrisons has skilled butchers, fishmongers, bakers, cheesemongers and deli colleagues in a section called Market Street, where it serves fresh produce every day.



1960s baker


The ad begins at Morrisons’ original Bradford market stall, where a customer purchases local eggs. Then, with each cut, the film jumps through time to a new era, continuing the conversation between the customer and the colleague while also capturing each era’s fashion, hairstyle and food choice trends. But it’s not just the customers who change; staff uniforms evolve, too, from white overcoats to red bow ties and boaters. Let’s all smile fondly at the shell suits and thank the heavens they’ve remained in the past.

Throughout the spot, customers buy fresh British food, including mature British cheddar, sliced loaves, filleted fish, and British sirloin steaks, before the scene wraps up with a customer purchasing doughnuts from a modern-day counter.

Part of a wider integrated campaign, the push rolls out to video on demand, radio, press, digital displays, social media, out-of-home, and activity in Morrisons stores and online. Out-of-home features images of Morrisons Market Street colleagues and highlights their skills and expertise, while a social media campaign will show the customers and colleagues from the ad tasting modern-day Morrisons favourites and sharing their happy reactions.

Modern day

What we especially like are the retro recipes from each decade of the past 125 years, all to be shared across Morrisons’ social channels, website, and blog. We’re curious to know what they suggest for the ’90s.

Further celebrations for its 125th anniversary form offers and activities across the UK, and Morrisons is also launching a £1m charitable fund to enhance community spaces nationwide.

The ad was directed by US, through Academy, and will be shown on network TV spots that include ITV’s Coronation Street, Channel 4’s Bake Off The Professionals and Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox.

“As other supermarkets have shut their fresh food counters, Morrisons Market Street is still going strong,” says Mark Elwood from Leo Burnett. “Their commitment to fresh food, value and customer service is in their DNA. Bread made and baked fresh in-store. Fresh fish is filleted, so you don’t have to faff. Just the right amount of fresh minced beef for your mid-week spag-bol, all served with smiles and advice. One hundred twenty-five years of values and value still going strong. A compelling reason to shop at Morrisons.”

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