For the past few years, a major pillar of Countdown's advertising strategy has consisted of lathering up the nation with the soap that was The Colemans. It may not have been lauded by the industry, but it seemed to do the job on the public, and the many executions by Chris Dudman of Robber's Dog earned regular spots in Colmar Brunton's top ten ads list. But now the Progressive chain has said goodbye to the fictional family and embraced reality TV.
Advertising is often criticised for favouring perfect human specimens. But that's not a problem here because the new series of ads profiles a random selection of shoppers, from beardy old men to frugal Scots to young trackpant-wearing ladies, and reveals their honest opinions about why they choose to shop at Countdown. In addition to the main 60 second ad (which, strangely, features a shot of Countdown with the old school bright green and orange branding), there are 30 second ads that chat with some of the chain's 300,000 daily shoppers from Wellington, Auckland (x2), Christchurch and Invercargill and feature the tagline Everyday, Everywhere, Everyone Likes to Shop Smarter.
Ogilvy & Mather's head of client service Amy Dufty was unable to be contacted, and Bridget Lamont, Countdown’s general manager marketing, was unavailable this morning, but Lamont said in a release that it was new territory to back a campaign around impromptu filming.
"There were some real gems in our shoppers’ off-the-cuff feedback ... This is a completely new direction to what viewers will be used to seeing from Countdown,” she says. “No talent auditions, no wardrobe or makeup. These are real Countdown customers in the local supermarket, from all different ages and stages in their lives. Supermarkets touch people’s lives every day, and customers look for completely different things in their shopping experience. Some people love to get in and out quickly; for others it’s the service, range or specials, or a combination of all three. And who better to hear from than like-minded real shoppers themselves."
According to Radio New Zealand, Progressive, which won the supreme award at the 2011 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards, says it increased its half-year gross earnings in New Zealand by nine percent to $162.3 million as of March this year, despite slowing demand.
"The Australian supermarket operator says sales at its 165 Countdown stores rose 2.2 percent to $2.9 billion and it continues to take market share from Foodstuffs' Pak 'n Save and New World supermarket chains."
And for all you soap lovers, here's how The Colemans concluded.
Client: Bridget Lamont, General Manager Marketing
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand
Greg Partington – Managing Director
Angus Hennah – Executive Creative Director
Amy Dufty – Head of Client Service
Richard Loseby – Creative Group Head
Martin Hermans – Creative Group Head
Amanda Kabel – Head of TV