Waitrose is a different kind of supermarket. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, which has a strong culture of co-ownership, and until 1997 it had done little advertising. Faced with strong competition from the four giants of grocery, it briefed the agency to determine how advertising could protect and grow its position.

The challenge was to persuade consumers to make Waitrose a bigger part of their weekly shop. The store has a bigger proportion of secondary shoppers than other retailers, and there was a general perception that it was expensive.

There was also a great reluctance to understand that sometimes higher prices can be a reflection of higher product quality.

The creative had to redefine value as the balance between quality and price and not merely the lowest possible price. It linked stories about individual products to a 'killer fact' that highlighted its provenance or supplier. The ads also included the price to get the good value message across.

Initially media strategy focused on press. From June 1998 to December 2000 perceptions improved against a number of key brand attributes, including competitive pricing and working closely with suppliers.Sales per store increased by 7%.

After Wal-Mart entered the UK in May 2001, the budget was increased to include TV, with ads screened during documentaries and natural history shows. The cost of TV media was more than comfortably exceeded by incremental revenue. The short-term contribution to profit was 18% of the incremental uplift in expenditure. The medium-term contribution to profit was 25%.

Waitrose's share of the grocery market has increased from 3.17% to 3.7% since 1997, when it first started advertising seriously.


Campaign: Waitrose

Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea FCB

Client: Waitrose

Creative Directors: Chris O'Shea, Ken Hoggins

Creative Team: Richard Dennison, Markham Smith, Jason Andrews, Kevin

MacMillan, Chris O'Shea, Ken Hoggins, Matt Lee, Brian Riley

Film Director: Stuart Douglas

Advertising Manager: Amanda Bindon

Author: Steve Hastings


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