Adwatch: Sainsbury's - 'Spice world'

Don't mention Jamie Oliver in mixed company. You will almost certainly find yourself speckled in hummus, adjudicating between the believers and the sceptics.

Being even-handed by nature, I used to sit on the fence on matters Jamoid. Sure, his public persona grates and his Sainsbury's ads can jar more than a little. And maybe it takes more than fashionably dropped aspirates to earn the right to slag off working-class mums about what they feed their kids. Still, he acts, he effects change and he touches people's lives in ways that this adman can't really sniff at. In the process he has transformed himself from the Tommy Steele to the Sting of celebrity chefs, which is a repositioning one can but admire.

But not as much as the repositioning achieved by Sainsbury's over the past couple of years. Not so long ago it was the posh shop that had fallen to earth, its shelves as empty as its aisles and promises. But 'Try something new today' is a beautiful positioning idea, albeit dressed in some ugly language, and with it Sainsbury's seems to have rediscovered its mojo. Let Tesco do every little thing to help itself to every little bit of our wallets - Sainsbury's wants to be the home of food ideas. And ideas are ultimately more precious than service or range or price.

I find little to like in its latest ad, though. There are two issues. One is a matter of seasoning and spices and the other of recipe. This quasi-Dickensian romp ultimately lacks flavour. I suspect the ghost of good taste haunted the production, inhibiting all those involved from expressing the righteous camp needed to truly pull it off. Where are the dancing marmosets? Who edited out the exploding plum puddings and the high-stepping formation llamas? Moderation has no place at Christmas and even less in Christmas advertising.

More fundamentally, I think that Jamie has become something of a problem for Sainsbury's. The singed smell of overexposure lingers in the London smog of this ad, telling of a brand property that has been overcooked by the glare of other people's flash bulbs.

Please, Mr Oliver Sir, can we have no more?


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers