Sainsbury’s Try Team were a hit with The X-Factor

  • Sainsbury’s needed to maintain a high level of awareness during the festive period when their competitors were also frequently featuring on TV
  • Through a partnership with the biggest programme on TV, The X-Factor, Sainsbury’s bring themselves closer to mainstream family life
  • Sales for the 12 week period up to 29th December were up by 4.7%. Sainsbury’s achieved its best ever Christmas performance

The Challenge

Sainsbury’s were competing with the other supermarkets to achieve stand-out in a congested TV environment. The lead-up to Christmas is a pivotal time for supermarkets. Sainsbury’s needed an idea that would encourage consumers to shop there over the festive period whilst not compromising on the quality of its food and drink.

It needed to do this by convincing families that it represented good value for the family shop, but also Sainsbury’s wanted to bring the brand closer to family life. Inspiring people to ‘try something new today’ is in the DNA of Sainsbury’s. It is a passionate philosophy based on the benefits of good value home cooking, with the aim of extending the cooking repertoire of families. Proof of this philosophy can be found in the Sainsbury’s Try Team – a team of women from across the UK who have been inspiring the nation to cook for over fifteen years. As more families were cooking at home during the recession, the brand wanted to drive positive perceptions of good value for the family. They also wanted to utilise the Try Team as well as enhance their online presence.

The TV Solution

This is the story of how a novel TV marketing campaign firmly put Sainsbury’s into the heart of British family life. The TV solution involved the use of the Sainsbury’s Try Team and the partnership with the biggest show on TV – The X-Factor. The Try Team were used to inspire a mainstream TV audience to share the food they love with the people they love, simply and cheaply.

With a budget of less than £250k, ‘The X-Factor Big Nights In With Sainsbury’s’ was created - an online partnership with, FremantleMedia and the decade’s biggest TV show. The Try Team visited the X-Factor house once a week to cook with the finalists. This unprecedented access allowed them to shoot 45 films over a nine week campaign.

For viewers it afforded a rare chance to see their favourite TV personalities be themselves off air, learning to cook and having fun whilst creating tasty dishes. For Sainsbury’s, it allowed full brand and product integration into a TV phenomenon. The videos were uploaded to a content rich Sainsbury’s food channel which was fully integrated into the X-Factor website.

The Sainsbury’s campaign was the perfect example of how a TV property could be adapted and used across other media. 21 Try Team recipes were created for, and these tips were seeded on YouTube and Facebook. In addition to this, Sainsbury’s was also the first grocer to use Sky’s green button service. The recipes were uploaded to the service as a series. Finally, pre-roll advertising was used across for the duration of the series.


  • Over 38% more ad impressions were served than estimated by
  • Over 3.5 million pre-roll video adverts were delivered on
  • Sales for the 12 week period up to 29th December were up by 4.7% - Sainsbury’s achieved its best ever Christmas performance.
  • Dwell time for the online content surpassed some of the biggest media sites (including BBC sites and Sky)


Sector: Retail

Brand: Sainsbury’s

Campaign objectives: To achieve standout and promote family cooking during the busy festive period

Target Audience: Housepersons/Main Shoppers

Budget: £250k

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 9th November to 23rd December 2009

TV Usage: 60”, 40” and 10” spots, green button and pre-rolls

Creative Agency: Drum

Media Agency:  PHD

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