CAMPAIGNS: Sainsbury’s lion share of soccer - Sponsorship

In January this year, Sainsbury’s signed an exclusive deal with the Football Association to tie in with last month’s World Cup. For an undisclosed fee, the retailer bought a special license to use the England ’three lions’ logo on own-label packaging, and the right to call itself the ’Official England Supermarket’.

In January this year, Sainsbury’s signed an exclusive deal with the

Football Association to tie in with last month’s World Cup. For an

undisclosed fee, the retailer bought a special license to use the

England ’three lions’ logo on own-label packaging, and the right to call

itself the ’Official England Supermarket’.



With other retailers and official England sponsors such as Ariel and

Carlsberg all looking to cash in on the World Cup, Sainsbury’s was keen

to make its own arrangement work the hardest.



Objectives



To pre-empt the competition and achieve positive media impact to

significantly boost sales in the run-up to and during the World Cup. In

addition by raising awareness of Sainsbury’s as the ’Official England

Supermarket’ the company wanted to promote a more contemporary image for

itself.



Tactics



By rolling out the campaign, Sainsbury’s aimed to ensure a consistent

spread of media coverage beyond the sports pages. So, in February, the

company organised a launch event with a replica football pitch at its

Cromwell Road store in London. Here, Chelsea and England footballer,

Graeme Le Saux had a kick about with a Sainsbury’s staff team, and the

company unveiled its plans for England products and ’half-time meal

solutions’.



This was followed by a concentrated media relations programme, with a

’football supporters kit’ of newsworthy products sent out to

journalists.



In April, to tie the sponsorship back to its core business, the company

set up a ’Feast of Football’ helpline. On calling, children received

advice from a dietician on what foods to eat for increased stamina when

playing sport. Youngsters were further targeted with a number of

’Football Party’ hampers sent out to TV and radio stations for audience

competitions.



Finally, to appeal to shoppers who were sick to the back teeth with

football, during the World Cup the supermarket held line dancing lessons

in its Clapham store in London and conducted a regional massage

tour.



Results



Sainsbury’s estimates that the campaign generated over 284 pieces of

coverage. These ranged from extensive interest from the national dailies

such as the Sun and the Financial Times to broadcast coverage including

News at Ten, The Big Breakfast and Chris Evans on Virgin Radio, who

said: ’Sainsbury’s - they’re on the ball!’



CARMA International’s analysis of the coverage revealed that 93 per cent

was editorially based and not linked to any promotions and that

Sainsbury’s favourability rating rose significantly during the period.

England branded products such as soccer sausages and World Cup toilet

tissue proved a real winner with journalists.



Verdict



As the value of the sponsorship has not been disclosed, whether

Sainsbury’s gained financially from its deal with the FA remains

unclear. However, use of the three lions logo did mean that its products

featured strongly in the print press and Rebecca Devison, Sainsbury’s

national PR manager says that sales targets were exceeded.



Some journalists were sceptical of the retailer’s claim to be the

’Official England Supermarket’, but the campaign’s early launch stole a

march over other sponsor’s activities. Devison reports that an

impressive 12 per cent of the budget was spent on evaluation from CARMA

International. ’It was extremely important that our work was measurable

as adding real value to the business’, she says.



Client: J Sainsbury plc

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: To promote Sainsbury’s as the official supermarket for the

England World Cup team.

Timescale: Feb - July 1998

Budget: pounds 25,000



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