Dan Murphy comes to life for first time in major marketing shift

Woolworths liquor chain Dan Murphy’s has moved away from price and product advertising for the first time in its history as the brand focuses on the story of its founder.

dan-murphyYolanda Uys, Dan Murphy’s head of marketing, told Mumbrella that few customers realised the story of the store and that fact that Dan Murphy is a real person who founded the business on the single promise of offering the lowest prices.

yolanda-uys“When we spoke with customers very few of them realised that Dan Murphy was a real person,” Uys said.

“We always spoke about product and price and range and service (which) has sat at the core of what Dan Murphy’s is all about and that led us right back to the promise he made when he started the business.”

She said that rather than continue with a price-based approach the brand wanted to begin to weave a narrative around the founder of the company, with longstanding agency Red Jelly developing a campaign that brings the founder to life as  he walks through the streets of Prahran – where the business first opened – while the landscape around him changes through the decades.

While the face of the founder is emblazoned on the brand’s logo across the country, the campaign chooses to show vision of Dan Murphy from behind as he walks through the neighbourhood and into a store where the lowest price guarantee is reinforced.

Uys described the campaign as “such a natural next step” to tell the story behind Murphy.

While Woolworths has had a difficult year on many fronts, including its decision to shutter the Masters home improvement brand, and challenges to the make-up of its loyalty program, liquor has been a highlight for the business and it has continued to invest in the growth of the Dan Murphy’s brand.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci was instrumental in developing Dan Murphy’s over recent years as head of liquor, leading to his elevation to the top job.

dan murphys logoUys said that in a category that was largely seen as generic in the eyes of consumers, it was vital to pull the brand apart and get to something that was tangible and engaging for consumers.

“How do we tap into what truly differentiates us,” she said.

“When you operate in a category that is quite aggressive and and there’s a lot of people fighting for that customer, to tap into what makes that brand unique is so important in creating that differentiation.”

She said the “secret sauce” of what had made Dan Murphy’s a success up until this point had been a consistent understanding of what the brand stood for, but it needed to evolve.

Asked if she felt pressure to continue growth for a pillar of Woolworths that was seen as a strong performer, she said it was a question of strategy.

“We have a strong strategy and as long as we stick to the strategy and execute with excellence – I think if you have the desire to win there will always be pressure, less so from external and more so from internal – but at the same time you have such a passionate business and a brand that is not just loved by the customers but also internally.”

Uys highlighted the long-standing relationship the brand enjoyed with its agency, Red Jelly, saying they were in lockstep together on the strategy and it had made a huge difference in developing the campaign.

Red Jelly managing director, Justine Bridgland, said the length of the relation ship had been a key to developing the work.

“Our partnership with Dan Murphy’s marketing team has spanned more than a decade – bringing the story of Dan Murphy to life has been a labour of love for all of us,” Bridgland said.

Uys said the new creative platform created a broader platform for the brand.

“It allows our brand to stretch, not just about price, but about range and discovery and those are some of the elements that we definitely want to bring in,” she said.


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