Status Quo Coles TV ad – Prices are Down, Down, they’re staying down!

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Coles Supermarkets logo.

Every bit of me says I should lambast this work.

Here we have the legends (Grandfathers…) of Rock, the mighty Status Quo, reworking their 1975 hit, ‘Down, deeper and down’, to include Coles’ ‘Down, down, prices are down’.

Quo’s original track was the inspiration behind the supermarket’s grating, but memorable tune introduced last year.

But before I drift off into dismissive hyperbole about the demise of the once great ad industry, a few salient thoughts:

  1. There is a lot of tongue in cheek in this one.
  2. Quo were the inspiration for the tune anyway.
  3. The band seem to be having fun – no doubt acutely aware of the ease of making money from Coles.

The overall impression isn’t therefore that this is a credible Rock band selling out, it’s more a case of here are some ageing Rockers having a laugh at the expense of Coles.

At the same time it delivers the message and as a nod to the original tune is a bit of fun (if a bit of a cringe at the same time). This should appeal to a lot of the mass market and get the tune lazer etched into everyone’s subconscious.

Red guitars on sale in-store apparently.

Funny for a moment, but I only hope we don’t have to endure the joke too often on our screens!

Here are the boys doing their bit:

Woolworths Fresh Food People new ad – “Welcome to Australia’s Fresh Food People”.

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After much anticipation (in ad circles at least) Woolworths aired the new campaign from Droga in last nights high rating spots. Here is the corporate line:

“Today we embark on a new journey for our company. We have a proud history at Woolworths of bringing Australians outstanding fresh food and value. We are building on this and our new campaign marks the start of a new promise to our customers as ‘Australia’s Fresh Food People’.
“A new ad campaign, which commences tonight, features nine real Woolworths Fresh Food people. Our renewed focus on our people is testament to the faith we have that Woolworths’ people are our greatest asset.

“Coupled with that is our new theme song, which highlights the rhythm of the seasons and celebrates that every day, every week, every month of the year, Woolies people open the doors to our stores and bake the freshest bread, serve the freshest fruit and veg and the best quality Australian meat and seafood.

Interestingly the music, written by Frankie Carle‘s “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I Love You” has been used previously by Walmart. The track was re-recorded by Gossling (Helen Croome) in keeping with the original recording by Kitty Kallen with Lawrence Welk & His Champagne Orchestra and made famous by Betty Driver

In a nice twist, Woolworth’s have given you the chance to download for free on their website

The ad is about Woolies people and continues to push the “Fresh Food” promise via these people. I really like the simple, but effective introduction of the word “Australia’s”. Home grown provenance is a big motivator (…if at the right price!)

Many analysts were expecting a bigger leap forward from the new agency, but this is a mega-brand making it’s move and nothing is done without careful consideration. The tone of these ads brings a freshness that has been lacking and does differentiate from Coles celeb advocacy approach.

People are important, but product and prices are dominating the supermarket wars at present, which Coles are perceived as winning through delivery of this message with strong personalities in the Curtis and Dawn ad that resonates well with the viewer.

This ad delivers “year round” love of Woolies by Woolies fresh food people. It demonstrates what we assume are real employees and suppliers who love Woolies. But why should we love Woolies?

It is an expensive looking and beautifully produced piece of work. Watchability is right up there and I actually believe that these people are who they claim to be, which is important in advocate advertising. But is it effective advertising in building loyalty?

The question as to why consumers would love Woolies remains. Seeing people at work in farms, fields and stores might not be enough to give people reasons why Woolies is really the “freshest” in the cut throat world of battling Coles.

Fresh Food People needs qualification since Coles came into the argument. The ad is relevant, certainly interesting, but the motivation for a consumer to believe the Fresh Food promise and why this if different to Coles is the key deliverable.

Assuming people will click into the website for more answers is a big assumption – on-line is the domain of range and pricing (as shown in the great Woolies app). Without this step, there is no qualification to the promise?

Here is an example of what people see when they click – Malcolm the farmer talking about running and potatoes. There is actually some motivating news in there, but should this be the main ad (apparently 12 ads will run so it might well be)? :

Hopefully the campaign develops with rational product and price proof points, still delivered in this strong emotive style to entice the shoppers – perhaps less sexy advertising, but potentially more motivating in today’s climate.

A couple of other interesting points to note are the subtle re-brand (Woolworths moves from red to green). And as reported in Mumbrella, Woolworths will remove walls to behind-the-scenes areas of its stores so that customers will be able to see bakers and butchers in action. The brand will also refit stores with better lighting and address checkout queues. (My local Woolies did this 3 weeks ago by moving the stacked special offers from in front of the tills –  and it is still talked about in hushed tones down the aisles…!)

Great advertising engages and entertains, but ultimately needs to sell to us by delivering reasons to believe in the brand promise and motivate us to buy and remain loyal.

Hopefully this campaign will deliver the rational reasons, as well as the feel-good fresh food people.

Woolworth’s Everyday Rewards ad – the simple talking green pea

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Woolworth’s is the brand leader.

Woolworth’s prices, range and customer experience are far superior to Coles in my view as a shopper. But Coles are doing a fine job at challenging that view.

Both brands battle it out with big budget media spend. Coles have stuck to a consistent brand formula using personalities and price to great effect (…even though they are unlikely to win any creative awards). The new my5 proposition is well sold by Dawn. As Simon McDowell, Coles Marketing Director has stated in adnews: “Who are we trying to appeal to? Are we trying to appeal to 14 million bodies who shop at Coles every week, or are we trying to appeal to the advertising industry? You can guess what my answer is. We’re very clear on our brand and what it stands for. We’re very clear on our personality.” Nice to see an unapologetic marketing response.

Woolworths “the fresh food people” have a new agency and have recently embarked on a couple of pretty different campaigns – “Select” as posted earlier and this one for their equivalent of Coles “Flybuys”. Neither Woolworth’s campaign contributes directly to the core proposition of “fresh food”. This is done by Advertorial promos. Price seems to be tackled through short lead press ads.

The potential risk is that Woolworth’s looks like a challenger brand, following Coles and lacking consistency and a core proposition.

Further to which Coles are on an aggressive PR offensive as a Coles representative has said:

“Woolworths are playing catch-up again but what they have launched is a hastily pulled together program which does nothing for their customers. Their ‘extra special’ rewards program has simply taken the hundreds of promotions that they would have been running for all their customers anyway and made them exclusive to Everyday Rewards Customers. That’s why they were able to respond to my5 so quickly and it explains why they have not included any fresh items including fruit and veg, home brand milk and meat (these items are predominantly private label and so they can’t get them supplier funded)…”

Tough talk.

This ad feels like a tactical effort before the strategic tour de force we all expect from Droga who are cutting new ground in many categories with outstanding creative.

The simplicity of the my5 Coles proposition is winning consumers – 5 regular buys registered and get a discount. The Woolworth’s Everyday rewards response is actually simpler and stronger on paper, but falls short as it is pitched as a response to the other guys. It even references (and therefore credits) the competition’s proposition.

I think that the Coles guys are getting to the Woolies guys…as McDowell concluded: “We take our brand and our business seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are trying to sell and serve with personality, to make ourselves warm and approachable.” I agree, the personality that matches the target (not necessarily all of the creative community) is there. Interesting use of “warm and approachable” versus Woolworth’s Select ads.

A great marketing battle in the making and I look forward to the next salvo from Woolworth’s and Droga as the strategy comes into full swing.

Dawn French does Curtis Stone for Coles…

This is a nice fresh addition to the campaign…what I really like is that you can imagine Mrs (or Mr.!) shopper really liking this. A bit of a slap and tickle laugh…much more of the target’s sense of humor and therefore more memorable and motivating.

I hope this develops into more executions and Coles challenger status could be moving into a leadership position in the battle of aisles advertising?

Dawn is receiving a good deal of negative feedback from the industry suggesting that a local star could have done the job? I’m sure that they could, but this is written with Dawn French in mind and she does a great job. I think it adds to the perceived status of Coles to grab a bigger star and one that works so well versus the target.

Coles FlyBuy with Dawn French

Coles as a “challenger” supermarket brand seem to have a knack of knowing what the mass market, Mrs (and Mr) average shopper will respond to.

They have dispensed with Ad world trickery / irreverent humour, in favour of direct messaging using Dawn.

The tune is still there, haunting you throughout, but the fact that there is a genuine and funny star, performing (not just preaching) works to communicate. Ads still need to entertain real people (I apologize to “non-real” people). The casting of Dawn is inspired because it is believable, relevant and potentially motivating to the viewer. Also family funny. Anyone who understands the supermarket consumer will see it resonates with them.

Needless to say Australian viewers will see a lot of her as the mighty media spend rolls out.

Woolworths Select ad – Droga change the category

By their own admission, this isn’t the new strategy, just a tactical ad for own label. It communicates the rational product values well, but I wonder if it could have contributed more to the overall Woolworth’s positioning and emotionally connected better?

Is the humour a bit left field for the target? it definitely interrupts a viewer, but the bigger question is will it engage them and give Woolworths a connection to the consumer?

Did that woman blink in the entire ad? Do the kids seem a bit on edge…?

More to come and eagerly awaited as Droga get the strategy going.