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The spotlight on Waitrose’s live ad

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Here we’ll put the spotlight on our campaign of the month and look at what makes it work and what could make it better, with views from across the agency and our various specialisms.

This month we’re looking at Waitrose and Adam & Eve DDB’s live ad campaign, which is aimed at highlighting Waitrose’s commitment to farmers and knowing where its produce comes from. The TV ad aired on Friday night, after being filmed at 11am the same day, during the breaks between Coronation Street and Gogglebox. It’s been followed up with live-streams at commuter train stations and a live-stream on the supermarket’s YouTube channel.

JJ’s view

Fergus Cable-Alexander, Group Account Director

“Whilst the tech and approach to media is very interesting, it’s about time this kind of innovative campaign saw the light of the day. Any number of brands could have done it.

“However, what I find more interesting is Waitrose’s relentless focus on quality and provenance. At a time when the supermarket sector is more competitive and challenging than ever, they are sticking to their guns and standing firm with what makes Waitrose, well, Waitrose. It must be tempting to start running endless pricing initiatives and to reduce overheads and quality in order to compete with the fast-growing low cost shops like Lidl and Aldi. But Waitrose know what their customers want: quality, integrity, fair treatment of suppliers – all of that at a decent price.

“John Lewis, Audi and British Airways (amongst others) all stand to prove that with a strong brand and set of values and principles, customers will pay a premium. Waitrose’s current campaign, whilst innovative and interesting, will serve to remind people why they are paying a premium for their groceries. And every time consumers spend in the supermarket, they’ll get a sense of satisfaction they are supporting British farmers and getting a good product.”

Rich Henderson, Digital Account Director

The hype around it being a real-time advert is very overblown, but a crafty device to create a buzz
Rich Henderson,
Digital Account Director

“I like the campaign. The concept easily highlights that Waitrose food is natural and authentic, while also being effortlessly subtle and YouTube friendly. As usual, Waitrose understands what their customers want and the campaign fits the brand very well.

“It is the attention to detail that I like most about this campaign, which has launched at a great time when many families (prime target audience) are enjoying spring, petting zoos and lambing season. At a time when the BBC’s Countryfile has reached 8.6 million viewers, it would appear as though Waitrose is tapping into an audience that is becoming more and more preoccupied with where their food comes from. The animal/insect selections have been tactfully chosen to focus on products produced by animals rather than the animals themselves, avoiding potential headlines like “Star of Waitrose ad now in Lasagne”.

“The hype around it being a real-time advert is very overblown, but a crafty device to create a buzz around a campaign that otherwise wouldn’t be particularly memorable or newsworthy.”

Dave Jones, Executive Creative Director

“Waitrose. The discerning food shopper’s favourite supermarket. Not one of the big four but more of a quality offering. Why is the Waitrose regular shopper likely to be more ‘free range’ and ‘ethically farmed’ aware than most? Education, wealth and compassion will be key factors.

“To this end they will be able to choose where they shop and what they buy based on their food source knowledge and how they feel about where their food comes from. I’m willing to bet that Waitrose has more moneyed customers wandering up and down their aisles in the wealthy UK regions than all the others supermarkets put together. Some people on the other hand simply don’t care about animal welfare and I guess are more governed by price. There will be a correlation in buying power and attitude to food sourcing.

“So onto the current Waitrose strategy. This activity will resonate with only a section of the UK’s shopping masses – current Waitrose shoppers. I guess if it keeps them happy and Waitrose retain the best piece of the shopping pie, ‘The people with the money’, then it’s a job well done.

“It’s a good story but I fear one that will be lost on many as they tot up the cost of the weekly shop. On the plus side if the Waitrose activity increases awareness of animal welfare it will be no bad thing.”

Henry Rossiter, Creative Director


Press is Waitrose’s preferred and most effective form of advertising, I would be interested if they place any press in media like the Sun and Daily Express for example.
Henry Rossiter,
Creative Director

“Why is Waitrose doing this now? Why not previously, as their principals of high welfare have always been there? Is it a retention strategy, to stop people trying out the wonders of Lidl and Aldi? And why did they put it out on Coronation Street, surely the wrong demographic? Those TV spots are super premium expensive, so it’s very deliberate. PR?

“Will the webcam be up all year? One would hope so, so it’s not just a PR stunt. Has it caused a stir? I don’t know, I missed it completely and I am target audience. And for people like me and other Waitrose customers, they are preaching to the converted and just reassuring their audience they have made the right choice shopping at Waitrose.

“I’m not sure preaching to the Corrie audience is going to convert many there, even if they get the message that their normal supermarket doesn’t source responsibly, they just don’t care.

“Press is Waitrose’s preferred and most effective form of advertising, I would be interested if they place any press in media like the Sun and Daily Express for example. I doubt it. And on an executional note, they should have kept it just about the milk and not shown the cream and cake – suddenly I was being sold something.”

PR buzz or effective ad?

So there you have it. The ‘live’ element may appear to have been more for a PR buzz than for the good of the ad, but it was a nice ad nonetheless.

Since the TV ad aired, the supermarket chain has livestreamed from the Waitrose farm showing three different scenes – a beehive, rapeseed oil field and one overlooking the landscape. With over 1,000 likes, it seems as though the TV ad was just the beginning and the supporting material for the campaign might make the message hit home a little more.

What do you think of the campaign, or livestreamed ads in general? Let us know @jjmarketingltd.

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