Woolworths unveil first campaign from Leo Burnett, with inspiration from Thunderbirds

Woolworths has unveiled the first work from newly appointed lead creative agency Leo Burnett Sydney.

Focusing on the supermarket’s red spot specials, the pre-roll campaign sees the roof of a Woolworths open up and a giant red hot air balloon take off from a hidden launch pad, accompanied by the theme tune from 1960s animated TV series Thunderbirds.

In the original TV series of Thunderbirds, the Thunderbirds fleet launched from a hidden base on Tracy Island.

The campaign sees the supermarket bring back its red spot specials, which promote various discounts throughout the store, due to “popular demand”.

In March Leo Burnett Sydney were added to the supermarket’s creative roster, taking the lead agency position from Droga5 on May 1.

The use of red in its campaign sees Woolworths move back into rival Coles’ territory after a period predominantly focusing on its own brand colour of green.

The move to Leos coincided with Woolworths hiring former Coles executive Tony Phillips as its chief marketing officer.

The Thunderbirds-inspired retro feel is extended to art direction of the campaign including the use of starbursts to highlight the offers.


  • Agency: Leo Burnett Australia
  • Creative Director: Scott Hignett
  • Creative Team: Dave O’Sullivan / Grant McGrath
  • Agency producer: Renata Barbosa
  • Business Director: Courtney Robertson
  • Production: Rapid Films
  • Client: Woolworths Limited
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Tony Phillips
  • Head of Campaign Management: Karen Madden
  • Campaign Manager: Amanda Burwood


  1. Her
    4 Jul 14
    1:56 pm

  2. Was that an ad for coles or woolies?

  3. minecraft mum
    4 Jul 14
    2:45 pm

  4. what difference would it make? there is virtually no difference between them anyway

  5. fleshpeddler
    4 Jul 14
    2:56 pm

  6. hmmm, Starbursts!

    I assume the creative team think they’re being ironic but unfortunately Joe Punter will just see think ’80s and naff’

  7. SM
    4 Jul 14
    3:01 pm

  8. Oh my, there’s red and yellow starbursts with pop-art accents.

  9. Yawn!
    4 Jul 14
    3:10 pm

  10. When I worked on Woolworths in the early 80’s we always did a Red Spot Campaign each year, just as they had for years before.

    Here’s a Red Spot campaign from 2007: http://youtu.be/vcCBS6Wvhhc

    So un-original Leos!! Maybe the calendar of campaign names hasn’t changed since 1981. Why bother changing agencies at all when its the same old stuff rolled out again and again and again. Yawn!

  11. Conno
    4 Jul 14
    4:10 pm

  12. Finally Woolworths attempt to build a distinctive brand asset, unlike the absolute unbranded shit Droga5 were producing.

    A bit surprised it’s not green though – making it red really does play to Coles colour.

  13. Tony
    4 Jul 14
    4:17 pm

  14. Consumers don’t care about whether its red or green.

    These ads are same same. Mute button please.

  15. fleshpeddler
    4 Jul 14
    5:15 pm

  16. Conno, the Red Spot sale has been around at Woolies for at least 25 years.

  17. Good grief
    4 Jul 14
    7:48 pm

  18. Ha! Conno you’re obviously in the trenches at Leo’s. Enjoy that.

  19. Doorknob
    5 Jul 14
    10:55 am

  20. Wow. I expected so much more from Leo’s given all the hype. These ads are even worse than Drogo’s.

    1. They look more like Coles, thats the brand our household of 6 recalled after viewing
    2. They are soooooo dull
    3. Repeat 2.

    Woolies have been through how many creative agencies over the last 2 years – M&C, S&S, Droga, IW, DDB, Ogilvy had a pitch and now Leo’s. No one has cracked it. The common denominator could be Woolies and there style of briefing and approving work. The word on the street was that Todd had put his hand up to be the guy to make Woolies listen and direct them on a new path.

    Not so far.

  21. A Nus
    6 Jul 14
    8:36 pm

  22. Oh dear.

  23. Nice spot
    7 Jul 14
    8:19 am

  24. Sure it looks like rubbish but it does the faultless job of what most people here don’t understand, it delivers what the Client wants in a clear manner and that is Product and Price, strip out any attempt to be artistic and it’s perfect.

    We’re not doing art here people we’re Selling a Product, don’t loose sight of that.


  25. Tom
    7 Jul 14
    11:12 am

  26. You have to wonder why clients go to creative agencies when they don’t want to buy creative work. Woolies are the only ones to blame for this rubbish.

  27. Alan Cramer
    7 Jul 14
    12:21 pm

  28. So they are not Australia’s Fresh Food People anymore? Back to the old slogan also?