Whole Foods Imagines All the Pastabilities with Its New Ad Campaign

I know the grocery store model very well. I won’t say how, but rest assured, I know. It’s all about the customer and his or her shopping experience. Get them in the store and keep them returning with good prices, good service, and kind and considerate employees.

Right now, the big man on the grocery campus is Whole Foods with its natural and organic groceries that aim to better our bodies and the planet we call Earth. To advertise its wide array of offerings, Whole Foods launched the “Whatever Makes You Whole” campaign… and I feel empty.

In October, Mullen Lowe L.A. took over Whole Foods’ creative side and this past February released a series of idiosyncratic, if I may use such a word, ads that give us an idea of the plethora of offerings Whole Foods has and what the shopping experience may be like. The campaign was like store-bought pizza. Its intentions were good, but the ads were… meh.

Whole Foods Expert Advice Spot

Some Good

Here are the parts of this campaign I would toss in my cart…

1. Mission Statement – While I think they’re overpriced and a little too hipster, I admire Whole Foods intention and platform. Their mission: “Are you hungry for better? When it comes to what we put in our bodies, Whole Foods Market believes the full story of those products is important as we make our choices. Join us as we encourage others to celebrate what the Earth gives us with respect, purpose and joy.” I revere and encourage every ounce of that statement. So, their heart (outside of turning a profit, which is the real goal) is sincere and none of that was lost in the ads.

2. Message – The ads were clear in their message. Like noted above, each spot reflected some part of the mission statement, whether it was the cheese maker who actually went to school and studied cheese, which should give us confidence in their staff, or the employee who can tell you if a pineapple is good to eat by smelling it, the point was clear, concise and delivered.

Whole Foods Cheese School Spot

Some Bad

Here are the parts of this campaign I would leave on the shelf…

1. Sincerity – I appreciate Whole Foods’ mission and the thought behind it, but the sincerity or the “life is better because of us” or “the grocery experience brings the human species together” or “we can make you change your diet” mumbo jumbo that I got from these ads were a turn-off. Most of these ads, outside of the Pastabilities one, were cringe-worthy. Some had that awful awkward comedy and others were going for a cute, wholesome feel, which left me feeling empty rather than complete.

2. Fantasy – As stated above, I know the grocery store setting well and because of that I can tell you all of this is pure fiction. A fantastical vision of something that is not true. Grocery shopping is not a rejuvenating or makes you whole again experience. No. It is a warpath! Everyone is in a rush. You spend as much time trying to get in and out as you do dodging old timers on the motorized scooters. They’re menaces! People buy more than they can afford, which backs up the register lines and the item you’re looking for is never in the right spot and there is always something sticky with the shopping cart and don’t get me started on what might be living in that back stock room!

The Takeaway

Whole Foods’ heart was and is in the right place. Their mission statement is commendable and deserves appreciation. I just wish I liked their ads as much.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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