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 Supervisor Jillian Arnold and Truckie Harold Haigh

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Having seen the launch campaign, many anticipated a more functional follow-up to the campaign in these individual character spots.

How many trucks does it take to get it there fresh?

How quickly do onions get from the soil to the store?

In fact the curious potato farmer delivers some of this in terms of a truth about how the potatoes are cleaned.

The aim is to provide detailed backstories with the aim of personalising the quality and quantity of Australian produce and local sustainability promoted by Woolworths.

The issue is how many potential shoppers feel that an engaging character alone can convince them of the Fresh Food People claim? Particularly in the absence of any product info. about quality?

They are beautifully produced, but do they change hearts and minds when it comes to the store and the claim “Fresh Food People”? I’m not so sure.

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.

Woolworths Select chips ad

Here’s an interesting development in the Battle of the Supermarket Brands.

Versus previous offerings on the Select range, this one has a bit more added fun for the family.

It will be interesting to see how it does against the Dawn French series and which tone of voice comes out on top. Personally I still feel it is all about the shopper empathizing with the characters. This one features the punter who doesn’t work for anyone…the best thing is that we are seeing some new creative in the category!

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.