I recently spent a week playing Mr Mum, looking after my three young kids on my own. I discovered what every mum already knows: feeding a family is a relentless, all-consuming and mostly thankless task, requiring military planning.
When you get it right, however, and you're not labelled as a pathetic human being by your offspring, and you haven't resorted to the Expensive And Mostly Unholy Take Away Gods, well, you can bask in the glow of your existence. That is before being labelled a pathetic human being for the quality of your bedtime tuck-in.
This is why the latest Sainsbury's spot caught my eye. The 'Live well for less' ad taps into a feeling that we're told is sweeping the country: a return to simpler values, rediscovering what is emotionally important, not materialistically important. Or in other words, staying home playing Battlefield 3 instead of remortgaging the house again to put a deposit on a small tropical island.
In the post-Jamie Oliver era, the spot shows a father and son enjoying a grey day out on a pebbly seaside. YouTube comments inform me it's the rather fetching destination of Worthing.
As an Australian, I've learned it's this kind of misery that must be embraced in this country if you want to venture outside your front door without draining your wallet.
It's charmingly captured and puts the brand right at the heart of the event. Like the best Sainsbury's work, it's a recipe suggestion. By placing Dad in the hero role, not Stacey Solomon, it also creates a different conversation in the household; one that moves Dad from being the adversarial budget-keeper, to an active supporter of frugal spending.
With sales across the grocery sector in decline and record inflation pushing the cost of food up, all the big supermarkets have their own strategy to cling on to sales.
Essential Waitrose suggests that some items are mere commodities to be chucked in a plain bag, so one can still afford Parma-ham-wrapped chipolatas. Asda claims it can save you 10% on the same basket of groceries. Aldi maintains that 'un-brands' do the job of name brands. Morrisons, meanwhile, takes whatever everyone else thinks and puts it in a blender with a Take That track.
At a time when every supermarket boss must be staring down the barrel, the Sainsbury's spot shows a brand with great poise, holding on to its values instead of chucking everything away in a panic. Time will tell whether panic is what is actually required.
|Adwatch (October 26): Top 20 recall|
|1=||(–)||Direct Line||M&C Saatchi/MediaCom||32|
|1=||(15=)||Tesco||The Red Brick Road/Initiative||32|
|Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
|4=||(7=)||Argos||CHI & Partners/
|4=||(–)||Sky||Brothers & Sisters/
|9||(–)||British Airways||Bartle Bogle Hegarty/
|10=||(4=)||Marks & Spencer||RKCR Y&R/Walker Media||25|
|10=||(18=)||Sainsbury's||Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
|10=||(–)||Werther's Original||Pahnke Markenmacherei/
|14||(–)||Kellogg's Krave||Leo Burnett/Carat||22|
|15||(–)||Head & Shoulders||Saatchi & Saatchi/
|16||-3||Currys/PC World||M&C Saatchi/
|17=||(15=)||118 118||The Brooklyn Brothers/
|17=||(–)||ITV Bingo||Biscuit Agency/Concord||19|
|17=||(–)||Avon Anew Genics||Soho Square/Starcom||19|