Coles CMO: ‘I don’t care what adland thinks’

Simon McDowellChief marketing officer of Coles Supermarkets Simon McDowell has told an audience at the Mumbrella360 conference that he was trying to create a “famous company” and “isn’t particularly interested in anything that resonates with the advertising industry”.

In a keynote speech this morning, McDowell said when asked about the polarising reactions to Coles’ most recent ads, including the “meet the family,” the Flybuys campaign featuring Dawn French, and Status Quo’s reworking their 70s and 80s songs into jingles: “Do I care what adland thinks? Not a bit. Not one bit.”

“In fact I love it when I see a Mumbrella article because everyone has a view and the medium we’re working in is very subjective, isn’t it? What I would say is that Coles business is in a turn around and under Ian McLeod’s leadership, it has totally been transformed. We have more customers spending more money at Coles than we ever had in our history.

“Like the advertising or hate the advertising, we are trying to build the most famous, most compelling, most engaging brand in Australia and if you work for a brand that is already like that, then all the power to you, but we’re really trying to be that brand and we’re very passionate about that. If you can get 100,000 kids singing ‘down down, prices are down’ with their mums, then best of luck. We’re not apologetic about it. We don’t always get it right, we certainly don’t, but we’re trying to be bold and creative and make something that resonates with Aussie families. I’m not particularly interested in anything that resonates with the advertising industry.”

McDowell said 90 per cent of Coles advertising was developed in-house and even had a dig at Cadbury saying, “If you’re taking the lead from the international head office telling you to advertise a line extension on a block of chocolate bar, you should come and work at Coles.”

He also elaborated on the campaign featuring UK boy band One Direction, saying it had gone live across 700 stores Australia-wide.

Cameron Boon 


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