Documentary Style for UK Supermarket

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Sainsbury’s Live Well For Less by AMV BBDO

UK supermarket ads offers observational-style photography and unusual model choice in support of new brand proposition

Sainsbury’s supermarket has shifted the tone of its communications, highlighted by the photography in its new campaign, the previous brand proposition “try something new today” has been replaced with “live well for less”, reflecting the mood of so-called “austerity Britain”.  The ad copy opens with “These are tough times for family budgets,” but they are ok times for Sainsbury’s with 16.1 percent share of the uk market, and a rise in year-on-year sales of 4.8 percent.

What’s most interesting is the photography, which has a documentary feel to it, part of a wider trend we highlighted in The Art of Realism. Slightly washed out colours in the foreground, lots of incidental detail in the reflective puddles, the flask, the sandwich box. And most of all, the image of father and son framed by the wooden verticals at each end of their picnic spot. When did fathers and sons figure so prominently as a signifier of family for a supermarket brand? ‘Living well’ is played out as a father spending time with his son, on the beach, at a fairground, ‘old school’ pleasures with a hint of nostalgia.

The father-son dynamic may be intended as an emotional soft-landing for the brand, as Sainsbury’s will be ending its long-term partnership with chef Jamie Oliver, part-cheeky chappie, part boisterous younger brother, and all-round symbol of rough-and-tumble masculinity.

The visuals are attention-grabbing, but its clear that the visual language of documentary-style imagery sits better with consumers in hard times.

Sainsbury's Live Well For Less by AMV BBDO

Visit the Image Source photo library for royalty free images of family and parenting supporting the new documentary style of photography in supermarket advertising.

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