It’s always fascinating to see who big companies poach as brand ambassadors. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a brand ambassador is a person who is hired by an organisation to show them in a positive light with intention of increasing awareness and sales for that organisation.

Last week, it was announced that Tesco and Jamie Oliver are partnering up. That’s right – the Essex born multimillionaire chef has been poached (once again) by one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. Oliver’s fee has not be disclosed at this time but the figure will certainly leave heads spinning.

Before Tesco, there was Sainsbury’s

As mentioned, this will not be Oliver’s first rodeo. Over a decade long relationship between the celebrity chef and Sainsbury’s proved mutually beneficial coming to an end in 2011. During this time, Oliver appeared in over 100 adverts earning him a cool £10m, or so. While this might seem a hefty financial investment, Sainsbury’s reported that the £41m advertising campaign generated an additional £1.12bn in sales in under two years. £10m seems a bargain now…

What is the Oliver brand?

When Tesco made this move, they didn’t just buy a skilled chef. Jamie Oliver is a brand.

Part of Oliver’s appeal is what he stands for; his values. He cares about making change to the food we eat and educating the nation about how to cook in a healthy way that doesn’t break the bank. His approachable manner comes across on the television. For someone who has amassed great wealth, Oliver has kept a level head and continues to try and help those supporting families living paycheck to paycheck. A chef for the people. This partnership solidifies public perception that Tesco share the same mission as Oliver.

Not only does a partnership with Jamie Oliver mean a boost in brand perception. It also means reaching a wider audience. For a brand in this digital age, social media is key to maintain a close relationship with consumers, a way for them to feel connected to you brand and mission. While sheer numbers aren’t everything, they still count for something. Oliver maintains a following of 6.5M across all major channels including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tesco languishes at 214K. More to the point, Oliver’s following are highly engaged with all the content he puts out whether that’s his new shows, books or recipes. It goes to show that bringing in brand ambassadors who have acquired a cult following can lead to a successful partnership.

So what is Tesco’s goal?

As Oliver quoted this week in a short clip posted to social media, his brief has been delightfully simple – get the nation cooking delicious, healthy and affordable food from scratch. A little digging into Tesco’s company values, added a decade ago, reveals this is right at the core of their overall mission as a business. With this in mind, the move to partner with Jamie Oliver makes perfect sense.

Oliver has long championed the same rhetoric as he moved from a TV personality to a campaigner, challenging and changing government legislation to make this nation healthier. Oliver’s own humble beginnings, has meant that cost has always been factored into recipes. Trying to challenge the long held view that cooking using fresh ingredients from scratch costs more than pre-prepared meals.

While this partnership is rooted in health and education, let’s not kid ourselves. This is about sales. Just as he did for Sainsbury’s, the acquisition of Jamie Oliver as a brand ambassador is expected to increase sales for Tesco.

How successful this will be – only time will tell!