Whole Foods Market’s first marketing campaign since its $13.7 billion acquisition by Amazon last August is out, and the first batch of spots seem targeted at a distinctly young, decidedly quirky demographic.
Under the tagline “Whatever Makes You Whole,” the new push includes the tale of a bearded vegan-turned-paleo and his carnivorous needs; a dad who loads up his cart but forgets his real reason for being there (diapers); and a milquetoast-looking dude who wants some cheese, but has no idea what kind.
The emphasis on shoppers and Whole Foods staffers may help Whole Foods shed the “whole paycheck” baggage that has plagued it for years; such a reputation is no longer as accurate now that the chain is owned by lower-price-touting Amazon.
“Historically, we’ve been focused as a brand on telling our story in terms of our quality differential,” explains Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, who joined Whole Foods as global VP of marketing two years ago after a stint at Walmart-owned Sam’s Club. “This campaign was really intended to move the brand to a much more human place … but also have a strong nod to the individuality and diversity of everyone that loves the brand.”
When Amazon released fourth-quarter earnings late last week, it noted $4.5 billion in revenue for the period from physical stores, largely from Whole Foods’ 477 locations. Overall, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant posted $60.5 billion in net sales for the quarter and its largest profit, $1.9 billion, to date. In a talk with analysts last week, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said Whole Foods has gotten two rounds of price cuts in recent months, which have resulted in increased demand for products.
Amazon is also working on better integrating Whole Foods benefits for Amazon Prime members.
Whole Foods, which is based in Austin, worked with MullenLowe LA on the new work. The grocer appointed Mullen its creative agency of record last October following a competitive review that pre-dated its purchase by Amazon. Mediacom, which was appointed Whole Foods’ media agency last year, handled media planning duties.