Sainsbury’s has a long tradition of using celebrities to help promote their products, from pilot Amy Johnson in the 1930s to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in 2000. And, now, Sainsbury’s is once again reaching out to celebrities. Not one, but four. And there isn’t a TV actress, a sport professional or a pop star in sight.
Influencers play a key role in marketing, swaying customers’ opinion and adding credibility to the marketing message. Their value – and, hence, the need to identify and nurture them – is well documented in the marketing literature. For instance, ‘influencers’ are one of the key groups of stakeholders depicted in the ‘Six Markets Model’ by Adrian Payne and colleagues (here and here). But the examples mentioned are, usually, of well identified groups such as consumer associations, or investor groups, whose power comes from expertise.
The influencers chosen for this campaign are different. Their power comes from not being experts. It comes from being just like the people that follow them online. And they have a message that resonates with their followers. And these changes require new thinking from both academics and managers.
Isn’t Sainsbury’s campaign an amazing recognition of the new breed of influencers in marketing?