An MSN team in our London office has been cooking up a veritable online feast, partnering with the supermarket chain to bring Sainsbury’s Food and Drink on MSN UK to our readers.
I caught up with Richard Moore, who headed up the project, to understand how the microsite had been put together:
Can you give us some insight into the MSN Creative Solutions team in the UK?
The Creative Solutions team consists of commercial writers and editors, project managers and production specialists who sit within the editorial team at MSN. We work closely with our colleagues in Microsoft Advertising to conceive, create, produce and update content-rich advertiser-funded campaigns that inform and entertain our end users. This could be something as simple as a one-page product advertorial, a series of articles, interviews, maps and photos in our Destination of the Month package, a content and feature-rich microsite or even a full-blown channel.
What we create depends on a client’s brief, what they want to achieve with the campaign, and what is editorially sound for the portal and our end users. As editors, we work with the sales team to decide on the best solution possible.
How do these executions fit into the overall editorial flow of the portal?
Our branded content solutions are commercial solutions, which makes them different from our editorial content in that the advertiser contributes to the content decision making. That’s why we always clearly brand these content areas as Specials created in association with our ad partners.
This ensures that our end users can easily differentiate between MSNs independent editorial content and specials.
The best solutions that the specials team produces are like our new Sainsbury’s Food and Drink channel which marries great editorial content with a brand campaign. This ensures great content for our end users and delivers an engaged, interested audience to our partners.
You've just launched Sainsbury’s Food & Drink on MSN UK, a partnership with Sainsbury's. Sounds tasty. So what's in it for our users?
A mouthwatering mix of Sainsbury’s recipes, great in-store offers, cooking tips and advice for all tastes and budgets, seasonal food ideas, help with planning events and ideas for special occasions, great drinks ideas and lots more. We’ve also got tips on the best wines around from the irrepressible Olly Smith and video recipes from the Sainsbury’s ‘Try Team’. The channel will be regularly updated with new features, fresh content, and the latest offers giving our users a reason to visit again and again.
What’s in it for the brand?
Sainsbury’s are looking to align themselves with content that is much more in line with their offline magazine. The current Sainsbury’s website has a strong e-commerce focus and is less about cooking, eating and enjoying food.
Our channel solution gives them the opportunity to engage our audience in a friendly, fun, inclusive and inspiring way around the food and drink that they sell. By positioning themselves within our portal Sainsbury’s will also be aligned with MSN’s high quality, trustworthy editorial excellence. Throughout the campaign Sainsbury’s will be able to draw on, and benefit from, our editorial expertise to reach out to a wide audience and develop a relationship with them.
It's obviously great exposure for Sainsbury's, so how are you maximizing traffic and generating interest?
Our job, as an editorially focused team, is to create and publish the most compelling content possible in order to get people to visit. Headlines from the Food & Drink Channel will appear regularly on the MSN home page on our Specials branded content area. Users will click on high quality, relevant, interesting headlines. And that’s what we will provide.
Any plans for more deals like this?
We hope so! This kind of project gives MSN UK the chance to engage our users with great food and drink content. We are confident that our users will love this new section and return again and again over the course of the campaign.
Do check out Sainsbury’s Food and Drink on MSN UK and let us know what you think!