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2020 Gold Best Thoughtful Marketing Campaign


Agency: Gravity Road

Client : Sainsbury’s

Campaign Name: Signsbury’s - the world’s first deaf-friendly supermarket

Campaign Overview

The world’s first deaf-friendly supermarket

Sainsbury’s wanted to substantiate its Live Well For Less promise by improving the experience of deaf colleagues and customers. It created ‘Signsbury’s’.


The grocer wanted to make a bold statement about deaf inclusivity by showing how fun and easy it is to learn sign language.

73% of Britain’s deaf people feel rejected by their hearing loss. A major reason is that so few people are familiar with British Sign Language (BSL), meaning many public environments feel less welcoming. The strategy was simple: using a whole-store environment to raise BSL awareness.

Working closely with the Bath store team, Gravity Road - with PHD Drum and Hope & Glory PR - planned a week-long store takeover. Sainsbury’s would become Signsbury’s - the world’s first deaf-friendly signing supermarket. A space that would, for once, make deaf customers feel as heard as hearing customers.

Community outreach was at the heart of planning. Instead of funnelling budget into paid support, the agencies focused on earned reach through advocates: local charities and community groups like DeafPLUS and the Bath Deaf & Social Club.


The community groups and influencers bolstered the activation in social spaces, seeding the story online. The Daily Mirror was enlisted to deliver the first signed national newspaper, with signed masthead, stories and access to tutorials for readers to learn basic phrases.

Educational online tutorials taught Sainsbury's colleagues and customers useful signing phrases. The campaign enlisted Rachel Shenton, the Oscar-winning actress who signed her 2018 acceptance speech, to star in a number of short videos promoting the event with colleague Sam Book.

And the Bath store relaunch went all the way from the large store signs, to interior signage, to colleague badges: everything became Signsbury's. Interactive signing screens throughout the store taught the BSL for popular products, and a “Sign-for-a-Snack” stall offered free fruit to kids.


The campaign drove global media coverage, with more than 300 publishers praising the activation and a wave of social media support. The level of colleague training, in-store builds and educational content made it clear this was a serious statement of purpose from Sainsbury’s.

The Team

Gravity Road - Seb Royce, Executive Creative Director - Nick Hearne, Creative Director - George Alleston, Account Director - Prachi Virani, Business Director - Ally Kingston, Strategy Director - Cris Artiz, Strategist - Matt Herman, Account Executive - Stacey Arthur, Producer - Joanna Osborn, Head of Operations - Richard Grisman, Producer - Charles Diable, Editor - Dom Lashley, Content Developer


PHD Drum, Hope & Glory PR