Sainsbury’s Goes to W+K London After 40 Years With AMV BBDO

By Patrick Coffee 

In the second big European retail development of the week, the U.K.’s runner-up supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has picked Wieden + Kennedy as its agency of record after four decades with AMV BBDO. Marks & Spencer went with Grey on Monday.

W+K beat out the incumbent, Mother London and Mullen Lowe, according to The Drum today. The review officially launched in June, and the account is worth more than $80 million.

News of the win follows a decision by Tesco—which is the largest such retailer with nearly double the market share of Sainsbury’s—to drop W+K early last year in favor of BBH.


A statement from marketing director Sarah Warby:

“I’d like to thank AMV BBDO for the enormous contribution they’ve made to our business over many years. This has included some truly iconic campaigns, from Jamie Oliver to recent Christmas campaigns like Christmas Truce and Mog the Cat. We will continue to work closely with the AMV BBDO team over the coming months, including our Christmas 2016 campaign, while in parallel planning the transition. This was a very difficult decision but we felt it was important to get a fresh perspective and I’m delighted to welcome W&K to Sainsbury’s.”

As noted in that quote, the chain is best known for its sentimental holiday campaigns, which recently led one of our colleagues to ask why Americans don’t get as excited about Christmas ads as our more refined counterparts over in the No Longer United Kingdom.

Why did the review go down in the first place? Because “the supermarket noted its first sales slump following two years of modest increases.” Yes, that’s it. Plus, all of Sainsbury’s competitors were getting a new agency, so why not them too? The Drum reports that Mullen Lowe dropped out of the review in its early stages, perhaps because they didn’t want to work with a client that would end a 40-year relationship over a rough spot or two.

Now make the cat dance.