AMV hangs on to £45m Sainsbury’s

Oliver likely to remain as campaign figurehead as incumbent pips JWT in two-way final pitch

Sainsbury’s has decided to stick with its advertising agency of 25 years, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, after a three-month review involving eight agencies.

Many had expected new management at Sainsbury’s to make a break with the past by appointing JWT to the &£45m ad account. The agency had beaten Bartle Bogle Hegarty, DDB London, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson and TBWA/London to make it through to a final shoot-out with AMV.

Sainsbury’s is also expected to retain Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who was first brought into the supermarket’s advertising by AMV.

Oliver’s contract is being renewed, although the terms have not been finalised. It is expected that he will continue to appear in the supermarket’s advertising, for the short term at least. Both JWT and AMV pitched with ideas that could incorporate the chef (MW April 7). And the positive boost to Oliver’s profile which resulted from his campaign to improve school dinners, through his Channel 4 series and by lobbying government, is likely to have made an impact on Sainsbury’s management.

It is not clear whether the strong link between Oliver and AMV played a part in the final decision to retain the agency.

Sainsbury’s director of brand communications Helen Buck says: “Both agencies responded well to the brief, but AMV came back with a stronger and more exciting campaign idea that supports our goals.”

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King has made it clear that the supermarket’s strategy is to be built around “great quality food at fair prices”.

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