Ad Funded Programming : Sainsburys

18 months in the planning “What’s Cooking from the Sainsbury’s Kitchen” is one of the most ambitious ad-funded projects ever undertaken in the UK. The project revolved around the core of a live cookery and chat series running in the heart of daytime (Monday to Friday, 65 episodes of between 60 and 75 minutes).

This was very much a Sainsbury’s flavoured show. As you’d expect, Sainsbury’s branding featured prominently in title sequences, additionally the brand was name-checked in-show and the set design integrated the Sainsbury’s colour palette and logo’s. The unique formatting point was that the studio was built in the car park of Sainsbury’s Beckton branch. This not only provided Sainsbury’s background branding on-screen but also allowed guest chefs to “pop over” to the store and be seen picking up fresh produce from the aisles.


Locating the studio in the car park was an innovation that took complex negotiation with Newham Council’s Planning team. Product Placement was hard-wired into the format. Each episode featured three recipes with Sainsbury’s products naturally blended in to the heart of the dish. “Live” fully integrated Product Placement is a new art in the UK and this element of the campaign took intensive planning, experimentation, piloting and in-depth input from our compliance team.


TV was just the start, the compelling content produced went on to live across the Sainsbury’s website. Each day new video content was available to inspire and guide the Sainsbury’s user with links to buy the necessary ingredients. Driven by massive social media support, this was true “TV to Till” connectivity. 1.6 million recipe cards were available in-store and features from the show ran in the Sainsbury’s Magazine, which has circulation of 3m plus.


Both parties leaned heavily into the promotion of this show with Channel 4 running 3 heavy-weight onscreen promotional campaigns, joint-branded press campaigns ran in Metro and the Evening Standard, 1,000 six-sheet posters ran alongside 250 banners in Sainsbury’s stores. Radio ads ran across the Global network and the C4 trails ran on in-store screens alongside tannoy annoucements all driving shoppers to view.


What’s Cooking is a TV show that delivers on the Sainsbury’s brand promise of helping people to ‘Live Well For Less’. Its a practical proof and demonstration, using a TV entertainment show, of Sainsbury’s brand promise that goes well beyond advertising alone.


For more, watch the video above, or contact us



Sector Food
Retail and Mail Order
Objectives Change behaviour
Educate consumers
Engage big audiences
Audience ABC1 Adults
Media Mix Sponsorship

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