SYDNEY/LONDON: Sainsbury's new marketing direction is a "massive change", a senior executive has revealed, after the iconic British grocery brand ended its decades' long relationships with its creative and media agencies last year.

"It's a massive change for us. We always stayed very safe," said Clare Muscutt, Head of Customer Experience Design at Sainsbury's, during Mumbrella's Retail Marketing Summit in Sydney.

(For more about the changes Sainsbury's has introduced to its marketing, read Warc's exclusive report: The changing face of Sainsbury's: Behind the grocery giant's new direction.)

The brand rolled out its "Food Dancing" TVC with new partner Wieden + Kennedy in January, with elements of the campaign including GIFs, a music video, out-of-home, point of sale and direct marketing.

"This marketing strategy was quite a different approach for how we communicate in a very saturated marketplace," said Muscutt of the new creative direction.

"Some of the big things that have changed in our advertising are the fact that we're trying to reflect a much more modern Britain. If you see the ads, it's iPhone shots, it's real people. There weren't any actors involved in this. It was a big step change and our customers loved it."

Sainsbury's also developed six customer personas that look beyond simply what people are purchasing.

"We invented our six people based on shopper segmentation – so what they actually buy. But we didn't just talk about what they put in their basket," Muscutt explained.

"We started to talk about what they needed in terms of service. What is their attitude towards it? Do they want us to be helpful or do they just not want us to speak to them at all?"

Using the elements of the overarching campaign, Muscutt's team also rethought in-store sampling.

"We revolutionised what sampling can look like. To see customers actually dancing in store – getting to feel that vibe and taste the food – really enhanced our store experience," she said.

"We saw huge success in terms of return on investment and sales. One of the products we sampled showed 90% growth in that store in the three days we were there."

Data sourced from Warc