Asda appoints Open Road for public affairs as focus shifts to local activities

Asda's public affairs account has been awarded to Open Road, in readiness for a move towards engaging with local political decision makers.

Asda: wants to engage with local political decision makers
Asda: wants to engage with local political decision makers
As revealed in PRWeek, Asda repitched its public affairs support out of TLG, as it prepares for a £500m UK-wide expansion this year.

Asda director of public affairs Allan Edwards said the choice between the pitching agencies had been ‘tough’ but added: ‘Open Road was able to deliver our strategy at a local level.’

Edwards said that while the firm was trying to improve stakeholder engagement at all levels, it particularly wanted to engage with ‘key local stakeholders’ such as MPs and council leaders, who will be key to the success of the supermarket’s expansion plans.

The public affairs account had been held by TLG since 2008, also understood to be one of two contenders in last week’s bid.

Won on a retainer basis, it will be headed by the agency’s CEO Graham McMillan, who will report to Edwards.

The supermarket chain is owned by Walmart and currently has 528 stores across the country, but plans to create 25 more, while refurbishing 43 and building three more depots.

Asda says this will create 5,000 jobs, an announcement that was welcomed by David Cameron.

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