The UK Waitrose supermarkets account has London adland agog – maybe because a lot of the people involved, or who would like to be involved, shop there.
But Waitrose has its issues. For the past few years it’s been a walk in the park as it’s cherry-picked the top end of Tesco and Sainsbury’s customers, given M&S food a good run for its money and ignored the carnage in the volume supermarket business.
But now Lidl (especially) and Aldi are encroaching on its territory for some top end stuff and the biggies are fighting back on all fronts.
About three years ago Waitrose was set to move its account to Now, former COI boss and DLKW founder Mark Lund’s then new agency. But it didn’t happen for start-up type reasons and went to BBH. But nothing much happened, despite this being an agency/client marriage seemingly made in heaven. Waitrose chose to put its ad money into ‘content’ deals, with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, among others.
A few weeks ago, though, new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis decided he wanted to move his creative account to BBH, nixing Wieden+Kennedy. So BBH resigned Waitrose (something that might not have happened when messrs Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty were running the agency as opposed to new owners Publicis Groupe) leaving Waitrose boss Mark Price, who doesn’t take such reverses lightly, looking for a new agency.
And. we hear, that adam&eveDDB (which handles Waitrose owner John Lewis, to some effect), CHI (which has done a good job with Argos and Carphone Warehouse) and Lucky Generals (three refugees from agencies which handled both Waitrose and Sainsbury’s over the years) are in the frame. There could be others, of course.
For the first time in years Waitrose actually needs a good, rebalancing ad campaign to let its customers know what it stands for and why it’s better than the others – at a price, of course.
It has three good options available. But Waitrose seems happier with small. Could those Lucky Generals be even luckier?