Three-year-old changes Sainsbury’s branding

While trying to keep up-to-date with today’s news I found a story that very much attracted my interest. Being a former employee for Sainsbury’s, a story about the supermarket giant was always going to attract me. The BBC article was about the rebranding of the in-store baked ‘Tiger Bread’. Seeing as I worked in the bakery department of the largest store in the country, I was especially interested.

In May 2011, a three-year-old wrote to the customer service department of Sainsbury’s saying, “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be called giraffe bread. Love from Lily Robinson age 3 and 1/2”. The story went viral after the young girl’s mother posted the letters exchanged between Lilly and the company on her blog. This lead to a twitter campaign to change the name to ‘Giraffe Bread’.

Firstly, although it is a very good observation from the young girl, it seems a little redundant to me. Why? Other than the publicity the loaf has gained from the name change (which is probably the only reason), what have they gained? The stress of having to change their labelling system would probably be enough for me! After speaking to a former colleague of mine, I was told, “People keep asking me why it’s been changed. Must’ve told the story 100 times today.” Think how much money in wages that is wasting.

Courtesy of freefoto.com

The article says, that enclosed in the reply from Sainsbury’s was a £3 gift voucher. £3? I know at the time the young girl had only made an observation that a loaf of bread looked like a giraffe, but now she has made a branding decision that has spread nationally. If the idea had been suggested to Sainsbury’s by a marketing company, it would have set them back thousands of pounds and probably not got them anywhere near the publicity that they have done. It certainly would not have made BBC news!

If I were the parent of young Lilly Robinson, I would be writing to the Sainsbury’sbosses asking for a little more than the miniscule £3. I really hope that she gets the recognition she deserves. Her idea (or her mother’s idea to send the letter) has given Sainsbury’s publicity that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. No matter how stupid an idea I think it is to change the name, it could bring more customers through the door. I just hope they never change the delicious recipe…

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