Student - July 14, 2011

To sell the pasta more than pasta

With the adapted song 'La la la pasta' revealed last week, Albert Heijn more or less set off their first wave of 'Zomerhits' in the Netherlands, but do they have something more than the fancy party music?

Harry Piekema during the soccer world cup
'La la la la la pasta...' Harry Piekema, the spokesperson of AH, again managed to bring us a new surprise with his charming voice, after he had already proved his sense of humor in the previous ads. What a versatile actor, good at creating the jubilant ambience and arousing your desire for shopping! I couldn't help but associate AH with its counterpart PARKnSHOP, a supermarket chain in Hong Kong. PARKnSHOP is to HK what AH is to Netherlands; they not only occupy the largest market share in their region, but they are the bellwethers in marketing promotion as well.
From my perspective, the image of Mr. Piekema is consistently joyful, genuine and forthright, which fits quite well with the impression I have of the Dutch. In Chinese culture, however, people might think this image a bit superficial and lacks depth. To take PARKnSHOP as an example, they recently promoted a series of commercials under the name of 'family love' starring Wayne Lai, a household name in HK. In the clips he is presented as a simple and plain family man who is totally different from Harry Piekema. The audience is exposed to vivid talks between father and son or between husband and wife. In these ads the supermarket delivers more info than merely the discounted commodities; you can connect the trifling details in the videos with your own daily life and get touched by them, the so-called 'empathy'.

In the Western society people expect you to 'call a spade a spade' while in Asia we are educated to be implicit. Like a magnifying glass, the latter provides me a deeper view to this world. Did you ever ask yourself: can we change the image of a supermarket ad from a dull notice of discount into a catalyst to strengthen the bond with your family or whoever you care for? Can we sell the pasta more than pasta? I hope you will have the answer after watching the following clips:

1.       In 1990, PARKnSHOP had made an ad in a festive 'Dutch style'.

2. In this vid Mr. Lai plays himself as an actor and a father at the same time. He educates his son that 'maybe you're too young to earn your own bread, but now you could learn how to save money first'.
3. This is a commercial of another supermarket giant 'Wellcome' in HK. The story is about how a little girl resists from all temptations to save her pocket money so that she can pay her father to stop work and accompany with her for one hour. It's so touching that I get the goose pumps. C1000, have you got some inspiration from it?

In the end, wish you a great summer vacation, see you again in August!
These are the three clips in a row: