Woollies campaign aimed at Aussie families; but has it forgotten the Aussie companies?

Woolworths has unveiled its new advertising strategy, and it doesn’t seem to have had the desired impact, unless the supermarket giant wanted people to be confused.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Woolworths was lagging behind its arch rival Coles in supermarket sales, as it was often seen as the ‘fancier’ alternative to the budget-conscious Coles.

So, an overhaul of its marketing strategy was supposed to be the solution, although despite rumors it had fired the advertising company it had employed since 2002 that is responsible for ‘The Fresh Food People’ campaign, Woolworths has stayed with well-known advertising company M&C Saatchi to develop the campaign.

But while Coles found success with the catchy ‘Down Down’ marketing campaign, Woolworths struggled to keep up with its similar ‘Price Knockdown.’

The company has now embarked on an entirely different track, unveiling a campaign aimed at families, which may be an indication the supermarket giant is trying to show it understands the everyday struggles and lifestyles of Aussie families.

Many viewers were left confused as to just what the advertisement, which showed a ‘typical’ Australian family moving into a house, was actually about.

It wasn’t until the end, when the Woolworths logo appeared, that people realised it wasn’t an advertisement for furniture or house insurance.

Woolworths’ new general manager of supermarket marketing, Liz Ryley, believes the series of ‘My Family’ advertisements, as well as workers in stores sporting t-shirts emblazoned with ‘My Family’, provide something for average Australian families to relate to.

The idea was taken from a similar one that has seen great success and increased sales for Woolworths Progressive Enterprises supermarkets in New Zealand.

“With 87 years of experience serving customers, Woolworths is at the heart of many local communities, from the heart of large capital cities to the main streets of country towns,” Ryley said.

“The Woolworths brand is a “we” brand.

"It is about everyday Australian families and their shared experiences.

“At its core, Woolworths is about fresh food being central to everyday life.”

But just what is actually at the core of the major supermarkets has been the cause for extensive debate in recent months, with Australian suppliers and farmers being pushed out of the market.

The big two have also copped criticism for dominating shelves with private-label products, leaving many Australian manufacturers behind, as they struggle for shelf space and to manufacture goods that can be sold at the same price.

One of Australia’s biggest manufacturers, HJ Heinz has slammed the dominance of the big two on more than one occasion, blaming the supermarkets for the closure of one of its factories and downsizing of two others.

Dairy farmers are already starting to feel the pain of the milk price wars, with the biggest national supplier, Lion, expecting to record a profit loss.

The freshness of bread will also suffer under the determination of the supermarkets to lower costs, with Goodman Fielder considering abolishing daily bread deliveries because it can’t turn over a profit while the supermarkets continue selling bread at as little as $1 per loaf.

Experts have told Food Magazine that while the supermarkets claim to have the best interest of consumers at the forefront of their business, they are forgetting about the small and medium-sized Australian manufacturers and producers.

Companies say they cannot remain profitable in the current "unsustainable" environment, and will be forced to close, and earlier this month an investigation into the current supermarket dominance found that if nothing is done to preserve smaller companies and retailers, 130 000 jobs will be lost in the food and grocery sectors by 2020.

If you’re an Australian farmer, worker, or business owner, let us know how you’re coping.

Are you being pushed out by the major supermarkets? Or are they helping you grow your business and improve your livelihood?

Contact editor@foodmag.com.au to have your say.

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