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Sainsbury’s and the Tiger Bread: a PR dream


Sainsbury’s could not have created a better PR campaign if they’d gone out and recruited the best PR company in the land.


The power of social media has once again proved that even the small man on the street – or in this case, a little 3 year old girl, can have their say and be heard.

The story started when Lily sent an adorable letter to Sainsbury’s HQ in London asking why their ‘Tiger’ bread was called that when it in fact looked more like the colours and patterns of a giraffe.

The reply from the customer service manager was brilliant: caring and amusing and above all heart meltingly sweet, with the best bit, for me at least, when he signed off with his name and then his age (as Lily had done on her letter, as 3 year olds like to do.)

Lily’s mum posted a picture of the letter that Lily sent to Sainsbury’s and Sainsbury’s reply on her blog page, and that’s when things got interesting: it was shared across the social networks and became a bit of a sensation.

Sainsbury’s obviously recognised a fantastic opportunity here and decided to go ahead and rename the bread product in question and consequently garnered a whole load of coverage on it, and further mentions as tweeters and facebookers started sharing the news story link.

And then, showing their social media prowess, Sainsbury’s then tweeted about the change and asked followers if they would be visiting their nearest store to buy some, and to RT if they were. And so the story ran a bit longer and spread a bit wider.

By recognising the opportunity to maximise the feel good factor of the letter, Sainsbury’s managed to present their brand as family orientated, caring and above all responsive to customer feedback.

Being on the ball with social media trends and monitoring their brand across the social sites, meant that Sainsbury’s were able to quickly leap on the opportunity and take it to the next level. Social media is a lot about saying the right thing at the right time which then gets you noticed. By keeping their finger on the pulse and listening to what their customers were saying about them Sainsbury’s created the sort of brand awareness and brand allegiance that probably had the other retailers spitting feathers about.

And the wonderful bit in amongst it all is that the customer service manager, Chris King, has since left Sainsbury’s and has gone on to train as a primary school teacher. Perfect!


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