Sainsbury’s to split with Jamie Oliver

It’s called evolution – you hire somebody and they come in with big ideas and often a large ego and ultimately they end up running the show.

I bet Sainsbury’s didn’t think this was going to happen with Jamie Oliver. The little guy who was brought in to re-connect the company with its food heritage is now the big man in the relationship. But his out-sized presence is getting a little too much for some senior people in the supermarket.

Brand Oliver bigger than brand Sainsbury’s.

If he’d done as bad a job as John Cleese, when he was brought in to resurrect Sainsbury’s in its really dark days (and failed abysmally with those appaling megaphone ads), then there wouldn’t be a problem. Actually, he’d have long since gone.

But he hasn’t failed, he has been a phenomenal success and played a big part in helping rebuild Sainsbury’s food credibility.

However, such is the popularity of brand-Oliver and his position in the public’s consciousness that it is raising some concern at Sainsbury’s Holborn HQ.

Plenty of concern inside the Sainsbury’s glass box.

Is he now bigger in brand terms than Sainsbury’s? This leads to the reallly big question: does his presence in the supermarket’s advertising really drive great sales growth or is the upside chiefly in raising Oliver’s own profile and that of his myriad activities outside Sainsbury’s?

When the celeb overpowers the client then there surely has to be serious consideration of when time should be called on the association.

When asking Sainsbury’s about the current Oliver contract they would not comment and strangely pointed to Oliver’s publicist who ultimately failed to respond. Why does the power appear to be in the Oliver camp? Tail wagging dog anybody.

Sainsbury’s: maybe trying somebody new tomorrow.

Just how long will it be before Sainsbury’s and Oliver part ways? Maybe sooner than we all think.

If you enjoyed this column then why not subscribe to for the latest posts to be delivered automatically into your inbox. Just stick your email in the box on the right hand side at the top of this page for this free service.