Coles CMO emphasises marketing's brave agenda

Simon McDowell also defends supermarket giant's low-price focus in the face of farmer backlash

The CMO of one of Australia's largest supermarket chains has defended the group's focus on reducing prices in the face of farmer backlash while also stressing the importance of courage in a modern brand strategy.

Speaking at the third annual Mumbrella 360 event in Sydney, Coles Group CMO Simon McDowell, acknowledged the ongoing battle between keeping prices low for customers, versus the pressure supermarkets place on suppliers including Australian farmers, but said the business genuinely believes its low-price policy is in the interests of both groups.

“We have to look after our customers; those Australian families whose cost of living is going up every year,” he said. “The reality is the average Aussie family is living on $55,000 a year and it’s not easy for them.

“It’s a key part of our brand to bring prices down, and we have invested hundreds and hundreds of millions into achieving this.

“We genuinely believe that by keeping prices low and selling more, we are also looking after the interests of both customers and partners.”

McDowell also used the Mumbrella event to detail Coles’ new campaign with the world’s hottest music group, One Direction, which will see it giving away 10,000 tickets to the band’s sold out Australian concert series, as well as to an exclusive Coles-only gig in Sydney. The campaign has been launched in partnership with Channel 9 and 9 Live and follows the retailer’s series of ‘Down down ’ advertising campaigns featuring Aussie rockers, Status Quo.

McDowell said the campaign is yet another step in the journey to be different and unique, and raised the question of whether other Australian brands are as ready to be as brave with their own strategies.

He also made a point that he wasn't concerned with what the adverising community thinks. About 90 per cent of Coles’ marketing is done in-house.

“We are trying to be engaging and fun, but don’t be fooled by all the sizzle – we take this seriously and pride ourselves on being brave and doing things in a compelling way,” McDowell told delegates. “A lot of thought and science goes on by Coles and our partners to communicate what we want to say. We take our business and our ambition of looking after customers very seriously.”

McDowell and the Coles executive team are in the midst of a five-year, $34bn business turnaround plan launched following the appointment of CEO, Ian McLeod. He said the supermarket giant aims to build the most famous brand in Australia, retail or otherwise.

“The Coles business under Ian’s leadership has been transformed, and there are more customers spending more money with us than ever before,” McDowell added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

CMOs are talking the CX talk, but not yet walking the walk

Customer experience is eclipsing product as a competitive differentiator. CMOs are recognising this shift and talking the talk. But are they also walking the walk?

Will our manners go the same way as texting when robotic servants take over?

Much of the talk in the industry is focused on the limited amount of time that screens have left in our lives.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Social purpose: Oxygen for your brand health vitals

If trust is the new currency, then we’re in deep trouble. Here's why.

Carolyn Butler-Madden

Founder and CEO, Sunday Lunch

Welcome to AVANT LOANS, Do you need a genuine loan Online to secure your Bills? Starts a new business? Do you need a personal loan? or Bu...

Avant Loan

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 14 June 2018

Read more

The things who have mentioned are very convincing and will certainly work.

Lunna Walker

Xero evolves to fit a changing marketplace

Read more

Do you need a loan for Business? Debt? school loan? medical loan? Have you been denied of loans in the bank and other companies? then you...

larry

News Corp confirms CMO is out

Read more

The use of the virtual reality and the additional reality in marketing are only the first steps to the unlimited possibilities. When you ...

Viri VR

Treasury Wine Estates ramps up consumer engagement with augmented reality app portfolio

Read more

I have heel pain and need arch support for my tired feet. I first wore them around the house for an hour or two at a time, as suggested. ...

akshayv

Branded CEO: The power of the personal

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in