The Spot: Lost in the Supermarket

Colenso BBDO transcends traditional grocery-store advertising for New World

IDEA: New World, a New Zealand supermarket chain, recently established a national marketing team, replacing a regional model, and wanted new ads that would live up to the feeling of enchantment in the brand's name. "They wanted a contemporary campaign that made consumers take notice, re-evaluate the brand and love it," said Steve Cochran, executive creative director at Colenso BBDO in Auckland. The result is three 60-second spots—artful, energetic and fun—that position the chain almost as a lifestyle brand, with heartwarming, light-as-a-feather stories about life, not commerce. Food sustains life, after all, so the campaign is about the freshness of both, embodied by the tagline, "Every day a New World." That theme "can speak to seasonal and freshly delivered food or newly made produce," said Cochran. "But bigger than that, it also alludes to the fact that every day is full of possibility."

COPYWRITING: All three ads open with a person's head on a pillow, then breeze into narratives where New World plays a supporting role, not a starring one, in the lives of the characters. The spot are music-driven; there is no dialogue. In one, a young couple shop for picnic food on the awkward morning after their first night together. In another, a father and son gather supplies for a day of fishing. In the third, a young boy prepares for, and enjoys, his pirate-themed birthday party. The characters all visit New World stores, but it's just a stop along the way, enabling life activities. The client was "on board with not overplaying the role of a grocery store in peoples' lives," Cochran said. "These stories are about a day in the life of a New Zealander, not a supermarket."

ART DIRECTION: To make the spots visually fresh, the agency wove in cutaway footage as metaphors for actions and feelings—a beeping heart monitor for love, for example, or a clock turning for boredom. This gives the ads a cartoony, pastiche quality—but one that doesn't swamp the human emotion. Much of the added video is archival stock library footage. "Ironically, using 'old' footage seemed to give the spots a more contemporary vibe," said Cochran. The extra layers of visual language also extend the shelf life of the ads. "The idea of discovering something new each time you viewed them further enhanced the thought 'Every day a New World,' " Cochran said. The spots wrap with the brightening of a dawn sky over a New World store and time-lapse clouds drifting overhead.

FILMING: The agency chose Patrick Hughes to direct the spots because of his skill at telling honest, authentic stories with a contemporary look and feel. He shot a mix of film formats, including 35mm, 16mm on a Bolex, Digital HD and even iPhone footage.

SOUND: Hughes also has a knack for music, and he unearthed two of the three tracks used in the spots—"Lazy Eye," a 2006 song by the Silversun Pickups, which helped the love story not feel too sappy; and "Fishin' Blues," a Henry Thomas blues standard from 1928, which fit the fishing spot nicely. Franklin Rd in Auckland found the third song, Ash Grunwald's "Walking," a grungy 2010 blues track that complemented the birthday boy's attitude.

TALENT: None of the actors are well known. The pirate boy had "the right amount of cuteness matched with the right amount of cheek," said Cochran. And the couple in love was believable enough "to the point where there were unfounded rumors on set."