Sobeys’ star-powered healthy rebrand

The grocer's new "Better Food For All" positioning is being promoted through a partnership with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and a large-scale multi-platform campaign.

Sobeys has announced the launch of a brand repositioning that will see the grocery store chain focus on healthier food options and adopt the tagline “Better Food For All.”

Doug Brummer, SVP of marketing, Sobey’s, tells MiC that the decision to reposition the brand was influenced primarily by consumer research conducted by Sobeys, which suggested that the vast majority of consumers want to eat better and believe that grocery stores can play a role in helping them do so.

As part of the initiative, Sobey’s has partnered with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, a move that Brummer says was a natural fit, given Oliver’s popularity in Canada and the years he’s spent as an advocate for healthy eating.

Brummer says that the reposition is aimed at reaching three specific consumer segments identified by Sobeys in its research, including “fresh food enthusiasts,” “fresh and savvy consumers” and “packaged meal lovers.” The company identifies fresh food enthusiasts as adults aged 40 to 55 who earn a high household income and are less value-conscious, while fresh and savvy consumers tend to be adults aged 25 to 35 who are more value-conscious and packaged meal lovers tend to be single adults and young professionals who are also aged 25 to 35.

To help promote the brand reposition, Sobeys has kicked off a large-scale campaign with media by Jungle Media, creative by Rethink and in-store design work by Toronto-based Fish Out Of Water.

The campaign relies on 30-second TV spots appearing on conventional and specialty channels like CTV, Global and Food Network Canada. In the creative, Jamie Oliver travels through a neighbourhood, delivering healthy food options to unsuspecting homeowners.

The campaign is supported by print spots in the Toronto Star and in community papers across the country and a heavy digital buy, including a YouTube domination and 90-second YouTube spot, promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter and search advertising. Rounding out the traditional media buy are radio spots, which will air on the East and West Coasts. Brummer says Sobeys is focusing its radio buy on the East and West Coasts because it traditionally has had more success in those markets and is trying different approaches in Ontario.

He says Sobeys will mostly rely on print at first to inform consumers of the brand reposition, with the campaign being tied to the new Sobeys flyer, which will include a four-page Better Food News insert.

The core of the campaign and brand reposition will be a complete overhaul of the Sobeys shopping experience, both in-store and digitally. In-store, Sobeys will be rolling out new programs on a continual basis, including product programs like an artisan bread initaitve and produce displayed by recommended usage. The grocer has also expanded its Natural Source sections, and worked with Jamie Oliver on a Certified Humane meat product program.

Digitally, Sobeys has relaunched its website as an educational tool, with tips and recipes to help consumers eat better. The grocer has also rolled out a mobile app that will serve as a shopping companion and allow consumers to access product and promotion information.

Brummer says Sobeys will be adding to the Better Food For All platform on an ongoing basis, adding that the new brand position is a strategy that will carry the brand through the next few years.