April 23, 2008 by Colin
Oh Galen Weston, you scamp. I admit, I was on the fence for a while. When you were appointed Executive Chairman of your dad’s company, I was naturally skeptical.
When your photogenic and cherubic mug started showing up in advertising for Loblaws groceries late last year, I questioned the wisdom of the move. After all, Loblaws is the home for President’s Choice, a wide-ranging white label brand that many consider a fundamental part of the Canadian identity.
President’s Choice isn’t just a success because of its delectable butter tarts, shortbread cookies, cheese trays, spreads and holiday train sets.
It’s the brainchild of Dave Nichol, a Loblaws executive who became synonymous with white label grocery products in the frozen North. Through sweat, blood, tears, market testing, brand development and millions of promotional inserts, Dave built the President’s Choice white label brand into a category killer for Loblaws.
But then you started playing with babies. Babies, man.
Let’s remember that Galen is the shining new star of a family ranked by Forbes as the #93rd richest in the world.
How is he gonna come across as personable, down to earth and a straight shooter?
Back in the 80s and early 90s, you knew Dave was simpatico. His ads were full of references to “working hard for you” and ” we’ve kept the same price as last year” and “my team” and “our family.”
Over the past few months, Weston has been working hard to put a personable and young face on the Loblaws brand. Personalizing the brand was first suggested over a year ago, by people like Mark Evans (read the comments, it’s one of those bitter but everfresh posts).
Weston’s clean face, tousled hair and open necked shirt have been pushing products that would appeal to the new and sensitive consumer. Organic baby food. Reusable shopping bags. Phosphate-free dish washing detergent. Apple crisp. Freakin’ apple crisp!
(Which, if you want to watch them, you have to dig into the Bensimon Byrne website under “current creative.” Because ad agency websites suck.)
And in the latest ad, Weston brought out the big gun – he ended the ad with “eh?”
“Clean dishes. And a slightly cleaner Canada. That works, eh?”
Normally, I would be all like “oh yeah? who are YOU to try the common and somewhat stereotypical colloquialism that has branded Canadians around the world?”
After all, eh is not a word to be wielded lightly by copywriters – unless in an excessively ironic manner.
But Galen Weston pulled it off. Bastard.
Good for him.
And I can’t just help myself. Here’s a Bob and Doug MacKenzie clip, featuring a lot of “ehs”:
[tags] Galen Weston, Loblaws, President’s Choice, grocery, eh, Canadian culture [/tags]