Sainsbury’s won’t rule out bringing back Mog after hailing it “most successful Christmas ad ever”

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe says he believes its festive campaign featuring the fictional cat Mog was the “most successful supermarket Christmas ad campaign ever” as he fails to rule out bringing the feline character back in 2016.

The supermarket saw a 0.4% fall in like-for-like sales for the three months to 9 January as a competitive retail environment continued to hinder growth. However Sainsbury’s recorded 30 million customer transactions in the seven days before Christmas (up 2.6% year-on-year) and credited the campaign for producing “great resonance” with customers.

Speaking to Marketing Week on a press call today (13 January), Coupe said: “If you look at the YouTube views and the people who actually took time out to look at a piece of advertising then I suspect Mog was not only our most successful campaign ever but also the most successful for a British supermarket as well.

“Mog had great resonance with customers, created a buzz in-store and was different to anything that had come before it, which is always a challenge when you’re creating a Christmas advert.”

Mike Coupe, chief executive at Sainsbury’s

In a brand health study by Waggener Edstrom (WE), Sainsbury’s finished below Aldi, M&S and John Lewis in its rankings for the most engaging Christmas ads (LINK).

The Mog’s Christmas calamity ad has nearly 37 million online views while Sainsbury’s sold more than 100,000 tie-in books and cuddly toys raising £1.5m for Save The Children’s campaign to improve child literacy.

Coupe, when asked by Marketing Week if the character could return, did not rule it out.

He added: “You can draw your own conclusions [on whether we’ll bring Mog back] but I can say we were very pleased so let’s wait and see.

“The brief for Christmas 2016 is already out there with our marketing team and agencies. They now have an interesting job to try to top what they produced with Mog.”

Coupe says Sainsbury’s Little Twists campaign helped it to reinforce its quality credentials

Across 2015, Sainsbury’s invested heavily in price as it aimed to lower the gap with the discounters Aldi and Lidl. In particular, its advertising has had a focus on the lower prices of everyday items.”

Coupe, however, denied that being drawn into the price war had lessened Sainsbury’s perception as a brand more focused on the premium end when compared to its big four supermarket rivals.

“One of the reasons we’ve been successful and seen volumes grow in our business once again this quarter is because we attracted more customers back to Sainsbury’s through our pricing strategy. We’ve never been more competitive on price,” Coupe added.

He said Sainsbury’s food-focused ‘Little Twists’ campaign has aimed to bring a focus on quality back to its food marketing.

“At the end of the day our brand is built on the differentiation of the quality we offer and over Christmas we tried to put a lot of emphasis on product quality to prove that quality is still a real driver,” he explained.

And if Sainsbury’s bid to acquire Argos is to go through, Coupe says it will give the brand an even greater point of difference.

He concluded: “The move for Home Retail and Argos is simple in that the retail businesses that win will be the ones who combine a strong psychical and digital presence.”