Same price, different values

by thewheatandthechaff

I like it when brands get angry. I like it even more when they do it really well. In retaliation to having their complaint agains them snubbed by the ASA, Sainsbury’s last week delivered two simple yet devastatingly effective print ads to slam Tesco and the ethics and provenance of their products.

The first ad features a simple layout and two images, side by side, of what appear to be very similar ham rolls. The copy is reproduced below:

“Now that most of the big supermarkets claim to be matching prices, you might be forgiven for thinking there’s no real difference between them. But take the ham rolls above. One’s basics Cooked Ham from Sainsbury’s. It comes from pork that’s only ever sourced from within the UK.

The other’s Everyday Value Ham from Tesco. It doesn’t.

They cost exactly the same. But it’s what you can’t see that makes the difference.”


The second ad, above, features a Sainsbury’s Fairtrade banana, stating its bananas are “a fair deal for producers, irrespective of market forces” unlike those provided by Tesco, and concludes by saying “they cost exactly the same…that’s where the similarity ends”

I’ve always been a big fan of AMV’s work for Sainsbury’s – if you haven’t read them yet, the IPA and APG case studies on their ‘Try Something New Today‘ campaign are essential reading for anyone working in advertising. The strategy behind the platform is an inspiring example of how approaching the brief from another angle, and getting your head in the data to really try to understand a brand’s business problem, can lead to a fantastically simple and clever insight, out of which a remarkably effective marketing campaign can develop.

This reactive work feels out of character for Sainsbury’s as a brand. It’s angry, it’s bitter, and it’s tactless in claiming the moral, middle-class high ground over it’s competitor. And it’s very, very effective.