Countdown has been going hammer and tong on the marketing front recently. But New World has come steaming back into view. And its new brand campaign is about as far as you can get from animated shopping baskets and fruit and vegetable musicals.
Foodstuff's group general manager of marketing Steve Bayliss says the 'Every Day a New World' campaign, which, as we mentioned a few weeks back was a joint Clemenger effort that was creatively led by Steve Cochran, Victoria Daltry and Will Bingham from Colenso BBDO and suited out of .99 ("we don't just bin agencies, we find different ways to collaborate," he says), is the other, more emotional part of the marketing equation.
In a competitive sector like grocery, he says the points of parity around value and price are crucial and the "hard-edge retail stuff and more assertive promotional material" is there to ensure consumers know they can get a good deal. "But if you're only focusing on that, as has largely happened in Australia, then it's a race to the bottom," he says. "You need to ask 'what is it that makes us different?'."
For New World, he says there will always be plenty of emphasis on being locally owned and on trumpeting the internal culture that comes from the co-operative model, something he's fairly familiar with after his time working with Air New Zealand. But he says the brand was ready for a change. And while the campaign is very different for New World—and for the grocery sector as a whole—Bayliss is of the belief that "the biggest risk you can take is being dull".
He says there was no nervousness about the creative and there was no flagging of risk. But while he's not a fan of pre-testing, they "did a bit of a strawpoll with some of their older customers" to see how they felt about the ad with the young lovebirds waking up together, and it turned out they liked that one the most, perhaps because it reminded them of some of the awkward moments they had experienced in their youth, he says.
The father and son on a fishing trip spot launched last night and while Bayliss says you never want to say something's been done before, the unsuccessful mission that is saved by the fishmonger at the supermarket has, well, been done before. Still, the spliced archival footage and upbeat, rather un-New Worldy music create a point of difference, he says, and it's a "simple idea that doesn't push things too far and introduces the concept" to viewers before the other two ads launch.
Bayliss says the visual metaphors included in the ads, which were shot by Patrick Hughes from Finch, add another layer of interest, but they are also based on research around how the brain processes creativity, because "if you leave little treats", viewers are rewarded when they solve those puzzles, which helps imprint the messages in their brains.
As for the retail side of things, Bayliss says the Cleverbaskets "had a nasty slip on the tiles and didn't quite pull through", so a new retail campaign by .99 that focuses on the people who work there has recently been launched.
The battle between the two big grocery players is an enticing one and a small increase or decrease in share can equate to millions of dollars. Bayliss says Countdown has spent an extraordinary amount of money on marketing in recent years ("it hasn't just thrown the kitchen sink, it's thrown the whole house"), but he doesn't believe it's demonstrated much of a return on that huge investment.
Countdown is Progressive's only brand, so it's basically all or nothing, whereas Foodstuffs has the luxury of a dual-brand strategy so it can "sneak inbetween". He says Pak'n'Save, which focuses on the value proposition rather than on price, has held up very well, and while New World has been affected by Countdown's activity, it has dropped less than one share point. It hasn't exactly been waiting for its competitor's marketing storm to abate, but it has remained fairly quiet in comparison. Well, now Bayliss says it's their turn.