Wellcome's campaign turns the clock back to half a century ago, when local celebrity Bowie Wu 'met' his dream girl Helena Law in one of its supermarkets. Set in the 1960s, the TV commercial 'documents' the on-screen couple falling in love at first sight in an ordinary place and building their own family tree until their hair turns grey. Fred Cheng and Sisley Choi (2013 Miss Hong Kong first runner-up) act as Wu and Law in their youth.
The blissful story is meant to stir up memories that span up to four generations in Hong Kong, and also record the growth of Wellcome since it was established in 1945.
This marks Wellcome as Hong Kong’s oldest supermarket chain, at 69, compared to ParknShop's 41-year history. And the brand is using this to its advantage by emphasising emotional bonding.
"One-stop shopping convenience, value-for-money products, friendly service, range of groceries—customers already expect these as a norm, instead of a unique selling point," said Julie Chiu, sales and marketing director at Wellcome.
In its 27 March campaign, ParknShop teases consumers with a TVC about 'Mrs Wong's Academy', where staff receive education and training to be price hawks. In a psychology class, the lecturer tells the class that the best way to see the 'real deal' in people is to look into their eyes. Should customers find any items on sale at a lower price in their district, the supermarket chain promises a rebate of two times the price difference.
Price consciousness is no longer an effective lever of differentiation and is only one of Wellcome's branding pillars, according to Chiu. She told Campaign Asia-Pacific that supermarket chains need to elevate their positioning, especially in such a mature grocery market as Hong Kong. The density of the city means that supermarkets are in such close proximity in any area that one outlet is just a few steps from another.
"Even if we are shouting about prices, we still need to do it in a clever way," she said. "Think of it this way, when consumers truly like a certain brand, they will not be as calculative."
Wellcome's TVC debuted last night at the 7:45 pm commercial break on TVB Jade's regular and HD channels, and is also appearing on MTR screens, the myTV mobile app and Wellcome's Facebook and YouTube pages.
This is Wellcome's annual branding umbrella on which tactical promotions for the rest of the year are based on. Chiu revealed the total budget for this annual branding blast to be an eight-figure sum in HK dollars, which translates to anywhere from US$1.3 million to US$2.6 million. This includes both production and media costs.
For its earlier Chinese New Year campaign (also a major annual tactical effort), the Dairy Farm Group ranked as the top advertiser in Hong Kong, according to AdmanGo data. For the period of January through February 2014, the group spent US$20.9 million (HK$162.4 million), representing an increase in advertising investment by 22 per cent year-on-year.
Notably, the brand has increased mobile advertising 12 times over last year, with TV and paid papers still dominating the share. Chiu said grocery decision-makers in Hong Kong are also heavy smartphone users. "Even if part of our target demographic are full-time housewives [perhaps wrongly thought to be mobile laggards], they are communicating with their kids and grandchildren via WhatsApp and WeChat, and consuming media on their smartphones," she said.
In the run up to the shoot, the crew from Grey (Wellcome's creative agency) spent significant time researching the retro feel of a Wellcome supermarket from the 1960s. The production is considered meticulous, with minute details about shelves, products, store decorations and price tags. The casting decisions grew out of an Ipsos in-campaign survey during CNY showing that Wu and Cheng are two of the more popular celebrities among HongKongers, Chiu said.
Advertising Agency: Grey Group Hong Kong
Chief Creative Director: Keith Ho
Group Creative Director: Almon Lam
Business Director: Jason Kho
Media Agency: UM
Production: Moviola Productions Ltd
Post Production: Touches Ltd