Coles, Value the Australian Way and DDB's Ben Welsh on the small things in life

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 13 October 2020

The new Coles campaign Value the Australian Way, via DDB, reinforces the COVID-19 lesson that small things make a difference and positions the supermarket chain as major thread in the fabric of life.

Ben Welsh, DDB Australia chief creative officer, says the commercial celebrates the optimistic, authentic attitude of Australians.

“It’s a tough strategy to land in a COVID-ravaged 2020,” he told AdNews.

“Doing anything this year has been a challenge as you don’t know how the sentiment of the nation may change in coming weeks.

“That said, 2020 has taught us to value the small things in life more than ever before, many of which we take for granted, like catching up with mates over a BBQ and having a meal with your family.

“That’s the sentiment we wanted to capture in this new campaign.”

Rather than doing another “We’ll be here for you” campaign, Welsh wanted to embrace a feeling of optimism and hope to show Australians there will be something to celebrate this summer, even if it’s as small as a day at the beach with loved ones.

The campaign also stands out for the way it uses real people instead of actors.

“We have director Justin Kurzel to thank,” says Ben Welsh.

“He did a brilliant job with recruiting real people and families. I don’t think we would have captured such honesty and integrity if we’d used professionals – we managed to tap into the natural emotion that exists within family and friendship groups.”

The result also comes with a for purpose feel.

“The aim was to reflect a modern Australia,” says Welsh.

“Coles is focused on sustainability and making good food accessible to all and is Australia’s biggest employer of Indigenous Australians, so the campaign had a level of real authenticity to it.”

And the headline of Missy Higgins was an attention grabber. This was the first time the singer has appeared in a commercial.

“So much emotion comes from the song and we all have our favourites, so choosing the right one is always a challenge.

“We fell in love with Missy Higgins singing Feel Like Going Back Home recorded especially for this campaign in collaboration between Dingo Spender and the current lead singer of Yothu Yindi, Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu.

Lisa Ronson, the CMO of Coles, says getting Missy Higgins was a coup.

“She doesn't normally do marketing and advertising,” says Ronson. “And she was excited to be a part of it.

“We're the biggest private of employer of indigenous Australians and that's why, we're really proud that Missy came on board with Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu to sing the song that was from the movie Bran Nue Dae."Coles Value

And the campaign hit a purpose around sustainability and feeding all Australians, helping them lead healthier and happier lives.

“We've always had a really important role in the community but I think that changed (during COVID) in our customers' eyes, and the fact that we're an essential service and we were feeding the country through a very anxious time,” Ronson says.

“This new campaign is a reflection of that repositioning around us being a part of the fabric of Australia.

“We do strive to serve -- our team members, our community partners, our supply partners -- and then meet the needs of everyday shoppers.

“And so we feel that this positioning is going to take us into the future and it's very representative of the role that we play in the Australian community.” 

Filming anything during COVID, with phyiscal distancing rules, has challenges. 

“We’re lucky to work with the best production companies in Australia with Revolver/Will O’Rourke putting in precautions to keep us safe throughout the day from sanitiser to social distancing,” says Welsh. 

“Using real people and families helped with how closely we could shoot individuals and we also opted for outdoor scenes where we could.

“With our DDB Melbourne crew not able to physically attend the shoot, we were able to set up a live stream so they could still be a part of the final product and see the result of all their hard work."

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