Marketer of the Year 2015: Jules Lloyd-Jones’ grocery sorcery

One of Jules Lloyd-Jones’ favourite quotes comes from Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” And looking at her work over the years, it’s clear she has both in spades. 

Lloyd-Jones spent the first few years of her career in ad agencies, but felt the need to take a longer term approach to brand building and decided to move client side. Since then, she’s held roles as marketing manager – business at TelstraClear, head of creative at Air New Zealand and director of marketing at McDonald’s.

At Air New Zealand she was part of a team that launched the game-changing Grabaseat brand. She also spearheaded the airline’s strategy to use safety videos as a branded content experience, with the bodypaint-heavy ‘Nothing to Hide’ being the first. She was also behind the polarising Rico campaign, The Pink Flight and the re-branding of Air New Zealand Travel centres to Air New Zealand Holiday Stores. 

At Foodstuffs, where she oversees two of the country’s most-loved brands, New World and Pak’nSave, as well as a number of other smaller brands, she and her team have created an array of innovative marketing solutions over the past three and-a-half years that have delivered both incredible business results and industry recognition.

Initiatives like the Every Day a New World brand ads, the Fresh Every Day campaign, which was widely thought of as ground breaking in the category, the hugely popular Little Shop and Little Kitchen campaigns, and the quirky ‘we’d do anything for netball’ sponsorship ad have all helped New World grow its market share in 2015—with value share growing significantly more than volume share. And this is incredibly significant because New World’s share of stores decreased compared to its main competitor and it came in the face of unprecedented media spend from Progressive Enterprises, which faced a difficult year in 2014 after being accused of using heavy-handed tactics against suppliers.

As far as New World’s brand metrics go, ‘fresh expertise’ grew from 30 percent association to 43 percent in Q4 2014; the perception that New World is ‘passionate about food’ increased by 14 percent from 2014 to Q2 2015; and awareness of its Silver Ferns connection grew by 26 percent.

In a category that tends to favour rational, price-led communications, Lloyd-Jones has taken the brands down a more emotive, creative and humorous road. She continues to keep New Zealand’s best-loved line drawing, Stickman, entertaining, relevant and right on brand with the help of FCB (as a result of its consistency, Pak’nSave took a gold in the Sustained Success category at The Beacons this year).

And some of the ads—particularly New World’s rather fruity Fruit and Vege pro spot, which features an unexpected love story, a talking yam and the song ‘Dream Weaver’ (and won the StopPress TVC of the Year)—have been fairly risky. But she says it’s necessary to “create and deliver things that challenge the status quo and break convention” and that in turn inspires people to engage, talk and share. But doing this means relying heavily on your “inner compass”. 

“There are times where the supporting data, the consumer research and the general consensus to an idea is positive and highly compelling to proceed, but for some largely unexplained reason just doesn’t feel right to you. My experience has been if you choose to ignore your gut at these times it’s likely to be at your peril. Sometimes you have to be prepared to swim against the tide.” 

Sometimes you also have to make everyone in your organisation swim in the same direction. And New World in particular has made staff engagement a core part of its brand strategy.

“Several years ago we launched a new internal service culture programme to New World staff nationwide to assist the owners and their management teams to create an increased focus on delivering great customer service. At the same time, we made the decision to include real staff in our advertising campaigns where relevant, rather than use actors. This approach has been very well received by staff and owners alike and the staff who take part become even more passionate brand champions … Our customer service is now a key differentiator for New World and is really valued by our customers.” 

Lloyd-Jones also launched a successful internal culture programme for Pak’nSave and led a project to overhaul the brand and store design. She has also significantly grown Foodstuffs’ in-house studio design capability and has made a concerted effort to revitalise the internal digital team. That’s paying off, with both major brands’ social/online communities growing quickly and Pak’nSave seeing an increase of 371 percent in the number of comments and an 86 percent increase in the number of shares.

She feels New Zealand marketers do largely recognise the power of creativity and are known for taking risks, which is supported by the fact that New Zealand was this year ranked 7th in the WARC 100, a global ranking of the best marketing campaigns. But she thinks there are several categories that have been slower to recognise the power of this approach, “with the retail sector being a good example of this”. But as always, she says “it’s about finding the perfect balance between developing creative that gets people talking and generating effective business results”. 

Not surprisingly, she says the people who have inspired her most are almost all known for their storytelling. “From Roald Dahl to JK Rowling to Walt Disney to James Cameron to Richard Branson to Sheryl Sandberg … They have the talent to transport you to a place, take you on a journey— often emotional—and create lasting memories.” 

And while they say those who tell the stories rule the world, that’s not always the case in business, because it’s still rare to see marketers at the top table. Lloyd-Jones believes that’s often due to a perceived lack of business acumen. And while she didn’t answer the question about her own ambitions, she’s confident there will be a significant shift in general, because organisations are becoming increasingly focused on areas where marketers can add significant value, whether it be recognition of the importance of customer centricity; the importance of driving innovation and taking risks to fuel growth; the increased importance of telling great stories in order to build relationships and make people care; and the merging of marketing and technology functions, especially with regard to data and analytics. 

While there are some positive signs, there are also plenty of challenges. “You need to be truly flexible and agile enough to respond to shifting priorities, the changing consumer landscape and market dynamics; you need to embrace the fact that consumers will soon be creating more content than brands are … and you need to understand the increasing importance of great storytelling and creative craft in a world of increasing personalisation, where data rules.”

Sourcing great talent—which is increasingly “people who think more like engineers and technologists than marketers”—is another constant battle. But to help create more of these candidates, she tries to push the industry forward through positions on the boards of the Marketing Association and iMedia, regular judging of industry awards, and mentoring of younger staff, both within the organisations she has worked for and in other categories. 

Those she works with believe this accolade is well-deserved. As Nick Garrett, chief executive Colenso BBDO says: “The work is getting better, the brand experiences are getting better, and the culture of success she’s breeding is infectious.” Kamran Kazalbash, general manager – retail at FCB Auckland, agrees: “Having personally worked with Jules for three years I can honestly say that I’m yet to come across anyone who is better at inspiring her team and getting the best out of the agencies and partners she works with. She does this by valuing her team’s opinions and experience and by treating her agencies and suppliers as partners, working together toward a common goal: making the best work possible.”

And no matter what sector you’re in, that’s something all marketers should strive for.

To read about all the other winners, visit the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards topic page here


Marketer of the Year 



Jules Lloyd-Jones, Foodstuffs.

Judge’s comment  

“Jules is a standout marketer, with an exceptional history of marketing excellence. This has been demonstrated by a number of industries and blue chip companies she has worked for. The business results Jules has delivered for Foodstuffs over the last 12 months are testament to her marketing leadership skills and her ability to influence and lead in a number of complex stakeholder environments … On a daily basis she demonstrates the effective use of the art and science drivers of marketing.” 


Justin Boyes, HRV; Rupert Fenton, iSite Media

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