SuperValu spends €3m on ‘karma’ campaign

The chain is investing in advertising as it looks to consolidate a new market lead

It has been a good week for SuperValu. The Musgrave-owned chain was installed as Ireland's largest supermarket chain by the official data from Kantar Worldpanel on the same day it launched a major new advertising campaign around the theme of "Good Food Karma".

SuperValu is spending €3 million on a "very heavy" presence across television, print, radio, out-of-home and digital, with the campaign including the most social media activity the company has done, according to marketing director Ray Kelly.

The campaign, created for the chain by its advertising agency DDFH&B, will feature a series of families – real ones – enjoying their food in a series of four television ads designed to convey the idea that SuperValu food can help them “create great moments”. Kelly says the production team “put cameras in there with no real script, so you have a nice, natural feel to it”.

But while the first of the television ads celebrates the unity of families sitting round the kitchen table to eat, the campaign also nods towards the more modern meaning of sharing food – taking smartphone pictures of it and posting it on Instagram and other social media.

“There’s a whole food-sharing culture that we want to encourage,” says Kelly. Online recipe sharing is especially beneficial for food companies as it can draw consumers into particular brands.

“Inspiring people to cook with good affordable Irish food” is another aim of the campaign, as is promoting the idea of SuperValu as a destination for “wholesome, natural” ingredients.

A previous campaign for the chain by DDFH&B, the "Say Hello to the New Supervalu Range" ads produced to back a product launch, won an Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland ADFX award for its effectiveness at driving sales.

“This campaign is less about SuperValu talking than it is about letting customers do the conversation,” Kelly says.

“We are making it very much a customer story.”

The arrival of the "Good Food Karma" campaign comes as figures from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel show SuperValu overtook Tesco to become Ireland's largest grocery retailer in the 12 weeks ending March 29th.

Kantar figures show SuperValu has broadened its appeal in recent years, with 18 consecutive quarters of footfall growth increasing its shopper numbers by 63,000. The rebranding of 24 Superquinn stores under the SuperValu banner in February 2014 led to an immediate jump in market share from 20 per cent to 25.1 per cent. Those stores have “settled down”, according to Kelly, though there are more improvements to come.

SuperValu’s most recent market share is calculated at 24.9 per cent, down a fraction on the same period in 2014, but as Tesco has slipped back at the expense of the discounters, SuperValu has inherited the lead.

“It is nice to be the largest retailer,” says Kelly, who naturally attributes its success less to a competitor’s woes than to the company’s own investment in its stores.

“We have a very clear focus of what we’re about,” he says. “We have stuck to what we’re good at.”