Sainsbury’s begins review of direct account

Sainsbury’s has begun a review of its direct marketing business, currently held by Proximity London. The agency has been invited to repitch for the account, which is worth 1m.

The pitch is being handled by The Haystack Group and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. It is being led by Sainsbury’s head of brand Helen Buck.

Proximity has worked with the supermarket chain, which is the UK’s third largest grocer, for the past five years and the review will not affect Connections, the data joint venture between Sainsbury’s and Proximity (MW January 5).

Buck says: “The communications market is intensifying, and by reviewing the account we can ensure that we are getting the best output from our agency.”

Proximity’s sister agency Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO was reappointed to handle the grocer’s 45m advertising account last year (MW April 28, 2005), while PHD handles media. Neither account is affected by the review.

Sainsbury’s has focused its advertising on high-profile campaigns featuring chef Jamie Oliver in recent years and is currently using the strapline “Try something new today”, introduced late last year. However, the retailer is understood to be scaling back Oliver’s involvement in TV executions in favour of a voiceover and focus on food products.

Oliver recently risked the wrath of Sainsbury’s bosses by referring to parents who give their children fizzy drinks as “tossers” in his Channel 4 show Jamie’s Return to School Dinners.

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