Sainsbury’s likely to stick with Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver has been used in agency pitch presentations for the £47m Sainsbury’s advertising account, suggesting that the supermarket may not ditch the celebrity chef from its advertising.

Both shortlisted agencies, JWT and incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, have presented creative plans in which Oliver can be used.

The celebrity chef’s contract with Sainsbury’s is under review. Although it is expected that his contract, which expires in May will be renewed, it has not been clear whether Oliver’s duties will continue to include advertising.

Many had thought that when the supermarket called the review in February, it would take the opportunity to axe the chef from its advertising. But since then, Oliver’s popularity has received a boost thanks to Jamie’s School Dinners and the chef’s successful campaign to improve the meals served by schools.

However, Oliver could still be viewed by the new management at Sainsbury’s, led by chief executive Justin King, as having too many associations with Sir Peter Davis’s team. Insiders suggest that there also concerns that the Jamie Oliver brand has become much bigger than the retailer itself.

King has said that the supermarket’s future strategy will be built around “great food at great prices”. The supermarket has already unveiled new food ranges in an attempt to deliver on this promise, the latest being Fresh to Cook, a selection of ready-to-cook meals free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Each pack contains all the fresh ingredients needed to prepare a meal for two in less than 20 minutes and will cost £5.99, with a £1-off introductory offer.

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