How New World and Colenso BBDO’s descent into madness bore fruit

In the cut-throat world of supermarket retailing, many factors come into play when consumers make their decisions about where to shop, whether it be price, location, range or the latest collectables. But while humans like to think we’re rational creatures, we’re not and a lot of our purchasing decisions are based on whether or not we actually like a brand. New World has its fair share of nuts and bolts, price-led retail ads promoting various deals, but its brand advertising has been streets ahead of the competition in recent years and it has challenged its agencies to take creative leaps and come up with engaging ideas to capture attention. And the mad Fruit and Vege pro ad, which our judges voted as the StopPress/MediaWorks TVC of the Year, is a great example of that thinking in action. 

  • See all the StopPress/MediaWorks TVC of the Year winners here

Following on from the infomercial style ads showcasing what New World felt was its major point of difference, its Daily Baker and the Fruit and Vegetable Pro took a more absurb twist.

Group brand director Jules Lloyd said at the time of launch that the company was very happy with the response to the first round of commercials, both in terms of customer and staff feedback and increased sales (the success of the Little Shop promotion and the fact that these ads were released when its main competitor Progressive was under intense scrutiny was an added bonus). But she says it was important to extend and evolve the campaign rather than simply doing the same thing again, so it’s become even more “playful and humorous” and added in more of a storytelling element. And because it’s so unusual for grocery behemoths to take such a kooky approach, she says it moves the brand and the category along (Progressive went the other way, farewelling its family of brand mascots and deciding to focus largely on price, animations and ex-MasterChef contestants in its TV ads). 

While she says Pak ‘N Save, which is celebrating its 30 year anniversary, has also profited from its use of humour, that hasn’t influenced fellow Foodstuffs brand New World. 

“It’s not for any other reason than to tap into the psyche of New Zealanders. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and everybody enjoys a laugh. Brands can take themselves too seriously at times and overly earnest advertising doesn’t get people’s attention.” 

She says the best thing about this campaign (the ad also won a bronze lion at Cannes in the film craft category) was the fact that client, agency and director Nick Ball were all on the same page and she says you need a high level of trust and collaboration if you want to do something as different as this. It was also important to involve the staff again and the characters in the two ads were played by staff members from the Hokitika and Kumeu stores. 

“Our people are core to New World’s success and, once again, real staff, are central to these ads,” she says. 

Colenso BBDO’s executive creative director Steve Cochrane says he occasionally gets asked how it gets a client like New World, in a category like supermarkets, to buy work like this.

“I wish I could say it was brilliant selling, strategic argument and our encouraging confidence to be brave that convinced them it was the right thing to do. But actually, the truth in this case is, New World simply demand work like this. And, of course we’re happy to oblige.”

While Colenso BBDO has come up with some fairly unique ideas over the years, he says sitting in a New World at 3am watching a guy floating through the fruit and vege department suspended by wires while ‘Dream Weaver’ was pumped out of a large ghetto-blaster is one of the most surreal shoot moments of his career.

Steve Anderson, managing director of Foodstuffs New Zealand, says it is delighted to have won the top gong.

“We are really proud of all our New World ads and to receive this acknowledgement from the industry is also a big pat on the back. Our marketing team continue to be creatively brave and have pushed themselves to come up with more interesting way to promote our core products and the risk has paid off.”

He says consumers have liked the fresh campaign and the new messaging about its points of difference has had great cut through.

“We have seen the results with strong growth in sales nationwide across all of our fresh departments. Feedback from our staff and store owners is that they enjoy being involved in the ads and seeing their peers on television.”

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