Johnnie Moore

Sainsbury’s changes tack

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

jsjamie.jpgThe latest TV ad (clip at David Reviews) for Sainsbury’s features Jamie Oliver as usual only there’s a distinct change in tone.

Instead of our Jamie doing a pseudo-report on the quality of the food we now have a psuedo-investigation of Sainsbury’s claim to have lowered 6000 prices from last year.

Somehow Jamie’s glottal stops (quali’y) and use of f instead of th (fink) don’t really convince me of his journalistic credentials.

Oh dear. I’ve always found celebrity endorsement a weary branding strategy. An admission that the brand itself just isn’t interesting enough. This new version compounds the problem by the awkward hitching of an old strategy onto a new one. We’ve gone from quality-led (sorry, quali’y-led) to price-led and the cracks are showing.

I was quite surprised to find the store manager being interviewed by Jamie conceding that the place might have been too expensive in the past. Whoa there. I suppose I could approve of the honesty of this statement, but you know it doesn’t feel very honest to me.

If Sainsbury’s really want to admit to having been too pricey in the past I’d like a bit of emotional collatarel. Like an apology for instance. Instead, we get the usual trick of the lover-caught-in-an-affair, a hasty claim to have changed for the better. It’s the haste and clumsiness of the whole thing that stands out.

I really doubt anyone at either the agency or Sainsbury’s take any pride at all in this ad. Jamie himself looks like a man with a troubled stomach too.

I would hazard that this is the sort of clumsy tactic that the company is having to resort to in an effort to keep the City boys at bay. And we know how impatient those guys are for easy solutions.

It’s a shame, I always liked Sainsburys. Used to work for them in fact. There’s something a bit undignfied about their current plight and advertising fluff is no solution. In fact, it’s a pretty clear sign that the conversations inside Sainsbury’s are not very smart at the moment.

Here’s what David has to say

The language is deliberately soft but the implication is loud and clear: Sainsbury’s has been charging you too much. A quite astounding admission. And it’s an approach that may backfire if consumers come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that Sainsbury’s previous message that they had to charge a little more than their rivals in order to achieve better quality was fundamentally false.

Sainsbury’s is in danger of becoming the supermarket equivalent of the Conservative Party – willing to say just about anything they think the punters want to hear in a desperate bid to restore their fortunes. And, as with the hapless Tories, it may end in tears.

Share Post

More Posts

Waterfalls and chaos

I linked to this paper on wicked problems the other day and Chris Corrigan commented “there’s a lot in that paper eh?”. Which is true.

Passion branding

Passion brands bring people together based on common interests and excitements. I’m particularly interested in ones created from the bottom up, as opposed to driven by producers concerned mainly with profit.

Medinge Moments

Just back from another extraordinary gathering at Medinge where the community that has produced Beyond Branding meets each summer. I was planning to keep this

The volatile chemistry of trust

Interesting research from Stanford suggests that exciting brands get more trusted after making mistakes and putting them right whilst more “sincere” brands start with more trust but lose it more easily. Perhaps the sensible interpretation is that second-guessing customers can be a waste of time!

What brand are you?

Thanks to Matt Tucker at Smith Associates for telling me about What Brand Are You. It strikes me that lots of companies waste money on

Just Undo It?

The AntiBrand: blackSpot sneakers, a project by Adbusters attacks Nike directly. In doing so they take on what has become one of the great icons

Putting humanity into branding

We live in a world of too much marketing and too much branding. People’s faith in advertising has fallen to new lows as we simply

New Abbey

So the Abbey National is rebranding itself this morning. As I write this entry, they are revealing their new look, their shortened name (just “Abbey”)

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

Where to close the field?

I’ve been reflecting further on the punchy attacks on managerialism made by John Seddon (blogged here). Here are some not massively coherent thoughts. One of Seddon’s major arguments is that

Johnnie Moore

The Gift

Thanks to Rob Paterson for pointing to this. Got me near to crying.

Johnnie Moore

On being human

I really enjoyed Tom Jacob’s post The Four Habits of the Highly Unconsolable. He weaves together his own experiences with some inspired quotes from sources as diverse as Robert Frost

Johnnie Moore

Exploring Enron

Charles Armstrong at Trampoline Systems emailed me this offer: to mark next week’s sentencing of jeffrey skilling (former enron ceo) we’ve launched a website where you can browse 200,000 enron