Save-On-Foods gets 'real' with new campaign

'Amazing food.

Western Canadian grocery chain Save-On-Foods has shifted its
marketing emphasis from value to quality with a lighthearted TV and online campaign.

The year-long "Amazing food. For real life," campaign broke last week with five 30-second spots. They are being complemented by point-of-sale materials, in-store digital signage and flyer wraps.

All of the video ads abruptly transition from slow-motion "beauty shots" of local produce, AAA beef and artisan bread, to unexpected "real-life" moments—such as the family dog devouring an expensive steak, or a woman failing to properly secure the lid on her blender before making a smoothie.

"We're a high-quality retailer and we wanted to make sure we communicated that story in the same tone that we've become famous for—down-to-earth with a connection to real life," says Dan Howe, vice-president of marketing, loyalty and digital strategies for Save-On-Foods in Vancouver. "Our consumers know that their life is unpredictable and doesn't always go as planned."

Humour has been a hallmark of Save-On-Foods' advertising in recent years, though the Western Canadian chain—which has stores stretching from B.C. to Manitoba—has traditionally emphasized value through its successful “Darrell’s Deals” advertising featuring Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones.

"While some of our customers are pure foodies, who a bit more serious, a lot of our shoppers want high-quality food in an everyday environment," says Howe. "We've elevated the brand with a strong sense of humour."

The new campaign was expected to debut with only one or two creative executions, but was expanded because the company felt it had what Howe describes as a "bigger story to tell," around the quality of its products.

Consumers responded positively to the advertising in testing, says Howe, adding that the variety of ads will help stave off the viewer fatigue that inevitably accompanies any major long-running ad campaign.

Operating in a highly competitive sector and facing increased pressure from global competitors, grocery retailers are under increased pressure to differentiate themselves from competitors, says Howe.

Save-On-Foods is also putting an increased emphasis on product innovation, with new digital tools such as My Offers—which features offers that are tailored to customer preferences and shopping habits.

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