How can Giraffe Bread make a tangible difference to growing your business?


In May 2011, a three and a half year old girl called Lily Robinson, wrote to the big supermarket chain Sainsbury. Lily wanted to know why Tiger bread was called that as in her opinion, the markings on the bread looked more like a giraffe's markings and not the stripes of a tiger.

Many of you may have heard about this story but I wonder how many of you thought the story was relevant to you and your business?

So, the letter from Lily said:

'Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be called giraffe bread. Love from Lily Robinson, age 3 and a half'

Lily got a reply from Chris King, the customer manager at the Sainsbury store she wrote to, 2 weeks later. He included a £3 gift card with his reply:

'I think renaming tiger bread, giraffe bread is a brilliant idea - it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn't it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly'

Lily's mum uploaded the letters on to Facebook and started a campaign called 'Campaign-to-change-Tiger-Bread-to-Giraffe-Bread-at-Sainsbury.' This got more than 150,000 likes and in February 2012, the name was officially changed to Giraffe bread.

So, how can giraffe bread make a tangible difference to growing your business? 

It ties in with the 5 elements successful business owners have in the front of their minds, during all their business activities.

K - Know your perfect customer - on the face of it, Lily isn't Sainsbury's perfect customer BUT her parents are!

O - Opportunity. I'm not sure if Chris King replied thinking this was a great marketing opportunity or not but it definitely increased the profile of Sainsbury.

D - Differentiation. Have you ever heard of Tesco or Asda or any of the other big supermarkets doing things this way?

A - Advertising - This wasn't your usual marketing or advertising route and in fact it was Lily's mum who started things on Facebook BUT it illustrates the 3 Ms of marketing well - Market, Message, Media

Market - Lily's parents are exactly Sainsbury's market. 

Message - Chris King wrote the reply to three and a half year old Lily. He wrote it in her language and kept her in mind. He also enclosed £3 gift voucher to be spent in the store. The fact that Chris addressed both Lily and her parents in a way that felt personal, must have been one of the reasons her mum started the campaign.

Media - This part was not down to Chris King but it illustrates the need to put your message in the media that your market regularly engages with. 150,000 likes says it all!

K - Know your numbers - we don't know how many more giraffe breads have been sold because of the name change but I suspect it had a definite impact on Sainsbury's profits.

More than 5 years later and it's still called Giraffe bread!

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