The retailer beat off competition from Paddy Power, O2, easyJet and BT, following a live vote at The Marketing Society’s annual dinner at London’s Roundhouse venue last night.
Hundreds of the leading names in UK marketing gathered to see film and TV writer and Comic Relief-founder Richard Curtis pick up The Marketing Society Outstanding Leadership award. The evening was hosted by TV presenter Clive Anderson, with musical entertainment provided by singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner.
Speaking to Marketing in the wake of the brand’s victory, Mark Given, Sainsbury’s head of brand communications, said: "It's a massive honour to win. It's a testament to the 150,000-plus colleagues working in store, depots and across the UK that we have won tonight.
Customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we hope that we can take the momentum of winning this award and continue to help them live well for less.
"Customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we hope that we can take the momentum of winning this award and continue to help them live well for less."
Sarah Warby, Sainsbury's marketing director, added: "We are all thrilled that Sainsbury's was named the Marketing Society's Brand of the Year last night.
"At Sainsbury's we talk a lot about our brand being the cumulative effect of what we all do, all 157,000 of us - not just what the marketing team gets up to - and so it's great recognition of the hard work of all our colleagues.
"Our brand's strength comes from our consistency - staying focused on serving our customers and continually helping them to Live Well for Less. For my part, I'm extremely proud of my terrific team and the brilliant agencies we work with."
More than 13,500 votes had seen Sainsbury’s make a final shortlist of five, alongside Paddy Power, O2, easyJet and BT. See the full list of nominees here.
While other brands screened videos listing their achievements over the past 12 months, the supermarket simply showed a clip of its current Christmas campaign, showing a soldier surprising his family by returning early from a tour of Afghanistan.
John Lewis won the award in 2010 and 2011, while last year’s Brand of the Year was Procter & Gamble.
Speaking to the audience earlier in the evening, 'Blackadder' writer Curtis had said that marketers had a unique opportunity to make the world a "better place".
He said: "It's an extraordinary time for people in business and marketing in terms of doing things that are making the world a better place. I think it's absolutely unarguable that the world will eventually be more changed, more transformed, made stronger...by business, by marketing and by commerce more than it ever can be or will be by charities.
"The responsibility of a generation rests on the shoulders of business and marketers and people who are in the communications business can change the world."
"I'd love it if, as a result of tonight, any of you could think of a cunning plan which changed peoples' lives," he added.