Say what?

Strategic Advertising. The art of aligning business objectives with brilliant creative through effective research, planning and targeting.

For too long advertising has been seen as the black sheep of business. A cost rather than a cause for celebration. We want to change all that.

It may sound too good to be true, but here’s an example of how this alignment can work beautifully in real life:

Sainsbury’s, who, back in 2006 weren’t doing so good. Aldi and Lidl we’re killing it on the value side, M&S and Waitrose on the premium end. And Sainsbury’s were adrift in the middle, not really sure of where it should be – which showed in its sales figures.

So, they tasked an agency (BBDO) with the challenge of increasing their sales by £2.5 billion within 3 years. They wanted this to be done by poaching M&S and Waitrose customers.


Research & Strategy

Cue BBDO’s research and planning stage. What they found out by interviewing M&S and Waitrose customers is that they were very happy with the experience that they had shopping in their preferred stores and were very unlikely to move.

This meant that the whole strategy of increasing sales by poaching customers needed to be written off. But that didn’t mean the sales target was out of reach. Not when BBDO broke it down as part of their rigorous planning stage. They worked out that £2.5bn is an extra £16,025,641.03 a week. At the time Sainsbury’s were seeing 14 million transactions a week go through their tills. So, it turned out that this campaign only needed to increase each transaction by £1.14.

BBDO also uncovered a phenomenon they referred to as ‘sleep shopping’ – the idea that customers go to the same places in a store and buy the same thing time and time again.

sleep shopping Strategic Advertising


Strategic Advertising output

Out of this insight, the strategic advertising approach delivered ‘try something new’ (later renamed to ‘little twists’). If you missed it in the shops, this was the idea of using a new ingredient to spice up a standard weekday meal. Think adding a little Lea and Perrins to a spag bol or green olives to a tortilla.

little twists campaign Strategic Advertising

This small change for shoppers meant a large increase in sales for Sainsbury’s. It achieved sales uplift of £2.8bn in 3 years, saw 1.5 million extra customers walk through the doors (hello halo effect!) and increased profits by 43%.

What this example does is prove that by focusing on effective research and planning it can drive creative that makes real impact to business goals.

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Author Ryan

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