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September 19, 2005

Try something new today

Try something new today.

That's Sainsbury's new slogan as reported by The Guardian. I confess, my kneejerk reaction was what the hell does that mean? But I was delighted to read this (emphasis mine):

The new slogan was developed after research showed that customers wanted supermarkets to help them with simple but effective recipe ideas.

A central plank of the strategy is for Jamie Oliver's cooking hints and tips to be sampled by all of Sainsbury's 153,000 employees so they can share their knowledge and ideas with customers.

Bigger stores will also offer samples of new products and ideas to shoppers.

Good Lord - it's as if they have been reading 173 all along! Emphasis on the food. Staff trained accordingly. Leadership for people who want to change their eating habits. And perhaps even a slogan aimed at those of us who say, "I would like to eat better / more variety / healthier."

If other people experience the same initial reaction to the slogan as I, or if the implementation of the strategy is botched, then the store may continue to have problems. But if JS can raise quality and logistics to Waitrose levels, then this training idea could make Sainsbury's definitively the best food supermarket, and I think that is tremendous news.

Posted by Adrian Trenholm on September 19, 2005 at 02:55 PM in Food, Marketing | Permalink


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I see the BBC is reporting this rebranding too - £10million spend on 'Try Something New Today'. I wonder if this extends to the management...


Posted by: Andrew | Sep 19, 2005 3:39:03 PM

Well spotted Andrew. I see from the bbc report that my initial excitement over 153,000 employees getting food training was misplaced. 153,000 employees will get some food and "encouragement" to try Jamie's recipes at home.


Maybe if they all got food, encouragement and a blog account to write up their experiences and start some smart conversations about food. Now that would be exciting. It would certainly be something different.

Incidentally, I just got back from a great meet up with Johnnie, Freddie and James and the consensus was that 173 should - to use one of Johnnie's improv / facilitation techniques - say "yes, and" to this new slogan, not "yes, but." I think that's going to stimulate some really great conversations.

Posted by: Adrian Trenholm | Sep 19, 2005 9:29:04 PM

I am looking forward to the new campaign.

I have seen the new advertisement (incidentally it was moved from the 7.45 slot between Coronation Street to 10.45 halfway through News At Ten - interesting), and thought that it got over a clear message.

For the first time I feel that Sainsburys are ahead on the initiative front from Tesco's. I hate to have to quote The Grocer yet again. With Sports for schools vouchers Sainsbury's gained the upper hand and Tesco's incentive is seen as a copy of this.They are clearly going to be more successful but unlike Sainsburys they are not giving extra vouchers for buying fruit and vegetablesas JS did.

The slogan is refreshing as it is new. All those qualities that Adrian wants to see with colleagues being interested in the food we sell, and passionate in their service and knowledge could so easily be achieved.

So many years Sainsburys seemed slow on the uptake..we would have to go away and think about things and whilst our backs were turned up would pop Tesco's saying it louder and clearer whilst Sainsburys muttered in the background.
The Reward Card, the Organics range to name but a few...all of which we were too slow with our became to compacent about. Finally we have something new which noone else sems to have thought about!!
It has got to work!

Posted by: Materfamilias | Sep 19, 2005 11:24:49 PM

Sorry about the spelling I got a bit carried away!

Posted by: Materfamilias | Sep 19, 2005 11:27:41 PM

Just seen this. On a later post, James talks about end-to-end conversations with which I agree - this way there's a broken chain.

But while the staff initiative is interesting, I wonder what incentives have been put in front of them. The use of the word 'encourage' could have many meanings.

Posted by: Dennis Howlett | Sep 21, 2005 1:27:55 AM

Funnily enough I went to JS yesterday and saw the new posters everywhere. This has obviously been very well stage managed. And yet I couldn't help feeling "same store, different posters."

I like the slogan because I like what it stands for - selling food as food, not as a product. I agree with Materfamilias that it is distinct and that there is enormous potential. And I agree with James and Dennis: there is a gap in this strategy and conversation is exactly what is required to plug it.

To traditional marketers, conversation feels risky, because you cannot stage manage it. James nails it - do Sainsbury's really want me to try something different, or do they just want to manipulate me? Same store, different posters? James says:

Supermarkets and fast food restaurants don't just respond to buying behaviours, they create them. That is the lesson, and that is why we will continue to push for Sainsbury to make a difference by being different.

So I believe, for "Try something different" to be a success, Sainsbury's needs to abandon "stage management" and get comfortable with co-creating buying behaviours, and the only way to do that is to have smart "end to end" conversations, with customers, staff and suppliers.

Posted by: Adrian Trenholm | Sep 21, 2005 11:01:32 AM

I agree with comments posted here, but would stress that the change from stage management to conversation needs to include Jamie. Why not give him a proper role in converting staff morale and getting the bounce back into Sainsburys? Also this means taking on board Jamie's real food campaign properly (think I have argued for this before!)

Good to see some upbeat comments from CEO King on progress

Interesting to see that JS is gaining share, some of it coming from disaffected ex-Safeways customers where they miss the fresh food now Morrisons have taken over.

Posted by: Mark Pinkerton | Sep 22, 2005 11:49:21 AM

I personally don't like the slogan, I feel it's generic and a missed opportunity, a mini repeat of everything that is wrong with the supermarket's attitudes towards food and supposedly "ignorant", unable-to-cook consumers.

A better response to what is missing in the supermarkets might have been "Try something seasonal" or "try something locally grown", both challenges that an increasing number of shoppers would love to undertake, but sadly the supermarkets seem uninterested in making.

So.. in the interests of being a "yes AND" type person, the slogan could perhaps be the basis of a better one...i.e.

"Try something new AND seasonal" or
"Try something new AND local"

Posted by: Tony Hufflett | Oct 5, 2005 1:30:52 AM

Good point Tony. If you look at the cards swinging from the ceiling of your local Sainsbury's, they suggest things like "stir fry cabbage with bacon." Which is fine if you have never done that before, but if you had it with your tea last week, it starts to seem a little patronising. To be fair to JS, there is evidence to suggest that large numbers of people want this kind of advice. But probably equally large numbers don't.

Which is why I think the missing link is conversation / connection with customers. Some will be not very advanced cooks, others will be really keen. The "try something different" message might work for one and not the other. Instead of trying to pitch things so that they appeal to a mythical average customer, it would be great for Sainsbury's to talk with both, so that both feel valued and their opinions taken on board.

Seasonal and local is really important to me - I think that JS is getting better at that (that's just my gut feeling after going shopping, not supported by data - if anyone has any, please post it). There seem to be fewer things from Kenya and Israel and more from just down the road. In some instances, the farm name is on the label, which is a good development, I think.

Thanks again, Tony.

Posted by: Adrian Trenholm | Oct 5, 2005 10:34:15 AM

I am an 'ignorant unable to cook consumer', sorry, qualify that, probably 'too knackered to think of new and exciting recipes to entertain the family as I work full time and my priorities are different to yours' person. I like the little ideas there are on the back of the cards and I like the barker cards suggesting alternatives as I shop.
I don't find the font child like and I think the concept brings back the focus onto food unlike the adverts of people patting their bums or the jiggery pokery of three athletes on a conveyor belt.
I am not sophisticated in my tastes however I shop at Sainsburys because I think the quality is better than Tesco's and Asda reminds me of a warehouse.I don't shop at Waitrose as it is too expensive for me.
If this is the reason why Sainsburys has increased its like for like sales by 2.8% could this possibly indicate that there are a lot of people like me who feel the same.

With regards to 'local' products please explain as to how in the West Country Sainsbury's meat counters are provided by a local farmer (businessman) Steve Turton and the fish on the fish counter is sourced from Plymouth? And the seasonal new potatoes this year came from a farm in Kennford Devon,again locally sourced. (To me)

Posted by: Materfamilias | Oct 7, 2005 8:00:58 PM

Glad to hear it's working for you, my complaint was about being always treated as one big "unable to cook" segment.

Also good to hear that some fledgling Sainsburys initiatives are addressing local/seasonal. Turton's Selection meats and local potatoes are a good start and will hopefully move us back towards expecting this as the norm rather than a bonus.

Local fish from Plymouth though? - I fear that you are being a little optimistic on that one as is just isn't there commercially (in the waters off Plymouth). But that's a whole different kettle of fish to go into.

Posted by: Tony Hufflett | Oct 11, 2005 2:20:47 PM

Just discovered this site and it makes interesting reading.
I, too, think that it's the right thing to motivate and educate staff about food - I'm tired of meeting with blank looks when asking for anything beyond the expected, or when asking questions about anything, that isn't already on the label

[note to supermarket staff: I can read the label just as well as you. I'm asking because the label doesn't tell me...]

There's a comment somewhere that you can't expect to get good service in a supermarket, because the people stacking shelves just aren't the same people that are interested in food. I agree it's a challenge.

But it's a challenge that is also faced by restaurants: many waiting staff are school leavers, or people looking for other things to do. Good restaurants let staff sample food, see it being prepared, learn about ingredients.. In fact I think it's one of the ways to know if the restaurant you're in is any good: ask your waiter what a dish is like, what a wine is like: they should have tried most of the menu - if they haven't how can they sell it to you? It would be an interesting concept to transfer to the supermarket aisle...

Posted by: grumpy young woman | Jan 9, 2006 12:31:08 PM

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