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Is the thinking at Sainsbury’s as joined up as it could be?

The latest Sainsbury’s “Food dancing” advertising campaign wasn’t to everyone’s taste. The POS in store seemed random and did not obviously connect with the aisle ends it highlighted. However, once the TV ads launched, the dots were joined. Sainsbury’s, rather than selling groceries, wants to sell an experience. An experience that brings people together and an experience that is highly enjoyable: cooking and eating.

Buying groceries in itself is a bit dull, let’s face it.

The in store experience can be more entertaining but ultimately it is what happens at home with the product you have bought that is the fun bit.

Sainsbury’s recognise that. They are building brand associations with fun in the family kitchen.

And it’s not just food.

Sainsbury's interactive outdoor ad

Tu Clothing interactive ads respond to weather

Sainsbury’s is launching Tu Clothing outdoor responsive ads which change depending on the weather. We all know how weather affects clothing sales and the challenge customers often face with fashion seasons being out of sync with British weather.

Playing with the fact that the weather is changeable in Spring, and showing clothing that is weather appropriate in the ad, makes TU clothing immediately relatable.

The caveat to what is, in our view, a clever campaign, is what the customer finds in store.

From advert to in store experience

We have challenged TU clothing in-store execution in the past and we are still to be convinced that Sainsbury’s aren’t leaving sales in the aisles by not addressing merchandising, signage and simple stock principles.

Reporting on Sainsbury’s Q4 we see that clothing sales have increased 5% which is ahead of the market. Very commendable for a range that is of high quality and competitively priced so we can only imagine what it could achieve if store standards were addressed in all stores.

We hope that the dots have been joined and that what the customer’s perception is of TU clothing after seeing the advert, is supported or surpassed in store.

Whether the campaigns succeed or fail will depend on meeting customer expectations in store. No advertising campaign can deliver sustainable growth if the dots are not joined and the whole operation isn’t working to the same agenda and timeline.

Sainsbury’s are also working to a cost cutting agenda and to date this looks like it is in conjunction with improving customer service. We feel confident that this will continue to be the case and yet there is still the niggling doubt that re-investment may be directed towards the ‘hot’ projects like Argos digital stores, Habitat when store standards are key to future growth in an unstable market.

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