Sainsbury’s will move to BBH – and pigs have wings

Where do these rumours come from? The latest one circulating the ad industry is that the £50m Sainsbury account, starring superchef Jamie Oliver, is about to move – without a pitch – to Bartle Bogle Hegarty. No one would be more surprised than AMV.BBDO, the incumbent for donkey’s years, or indeed BBH – if it were so lucky as to win the business.

The rumour almost certainly originates in Claire Harrison-Church. Not from Harrison-Church herself, I hasten to add, but in what she has done, and where she has come from.
Earlier this year, H-C replaced Helen Buck as brand communications director of Sainsbury’s. In other words she now has hands-on (though not exclusive) responsibility for the ad account. Looking more closely at H-C’s track record, we notice an uncannily close association with BBH over the years. She was once brand director for Lynx at Unilever and later marketing director of fried chicken retailer KFC. It is also said that BBH helped her, in some unspecifiable way, to get her last job at Boots.
All that does not mean, I’m afraid, that BBH is about to receive a handsome return on its investment. Marketing directors aren’t that grateful or, in Sainsbury’s case, that powerful.

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