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


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
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer