Sainsbury’s split with Jamie

Today saw news that one of the most effective celebrity endorsement campaigns of all time is ending. After 11 years and an amazing 100 commercials, chef turned food business mogul Jamie Oliver and Sainsbury's are parting ways.

This will be a huge change for the business, who proudly promote the partnership, as the poster from Sainsbury's HQ below shows:

There is a lot to learn from this brilliant partnership.

1. Perfect personification

Jamie and Sainsbury's was more than mere celebrity endorsement. Jamie Oliver was, literally, the personification of Sainsbury's, bringing to life many of the brand's attributes: British, foodie, professional without being "snooty" and stuck up, cares about quality, cares about social issues.

In contrast the the strictness of other chefs and cook books, Jamie's mantra was "get stuck in!" and have a go. This was a marriage made in heaven with the Sainsbury's brand idea of "Try something new today".

And as Jamie progressed from a TV chef to a campaigner for social issues, in particular healthier, jun-free school lunches for kids, so Sainsbury's benefited from his growing status.

2. Creating and reinforcing memory structure

Sainsbury's is the perfect example of amplifying a brand property over the long term so that it creates "memory structure": hard wired associations in our brains. So, when you see a TV ad with Jamie and food, this triggers recall of the Sainsbury's brand and a load of positive brand associations.

Sainsbury's is one of a handful of brands who can show a 10 year track record of consistent communication, although they fell short of Walkers campaign with ex-soccer star Gary Linker which has lasted 16 years. Most brand teams struggle to put together two to three years of consistent marketing activity.

3. Brand chapters to create "fresh consistency"

Sainsbury's managed to use Jamie to tell 100 "chapters" of their brand story. They did this by striking the right balance of:

– consistency: tagline (Try something new today), theme music, colours, Jamie


– freshness: new settings for the ads, new service benefits (Feed Your Family for a Fiver, Xmas at Sainsbury's, British sourcing)

Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 09.43.31
4. Brand-led business

Last and definitely not least is the hard data showing the business benefits of the Sainsbury's "Try Something New Today" communication campaign that starred Jamie. Econonmetic modelling shows that the total effects of the campaign were £1.9billion in incremental sales with the campaign idea itself contributing £550million of this.

Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 09.48.39
In conclusion, Sainsbury's and Jamie is a truly inspiring brand partnership which shows the power of creating, amplifying and enhancing brand properties to grow your brand and business. It is a masterclass in how to balance freshness on the one hand and consistency on the other.

It will be fascinating to see what comes next for Sainsbury's….what an act to follow!