It took me a while to put my finger on why I don’t like Coles advertising. Sure, it’s annoying and it’s repetitive.
But, the crunch came when I realised that it’s because Curtis Stone is the representative of Coles, a company that likes to pride itself on its Australian grown produce.
But Curtis Stone is Australian right? Right. But, Curtis Stone lives in LA, with his partner and their son. So, what? Good on him, right?
Well, yes, good on Mr Curtis, but shouldn’t Coles be using an Aussie chef who lives and works in Australia, who employs Australians, and who purchases and uses Australian produce in their cooking?
For me, it’s a simple principle: support those who are supporting the Australian economy. Qantas got it right when they brought Neil Perry on board as their consulting chef. Mr Perry not only has seven restaurants in Australia, but he also lives in Sydney. Mr Perry employs Australians in his restaurants, he purchases Australian produce and contributes to the Australian food scene. While I congratulate Mr Stone on his successes overseas and acknowledge that he is a wonderful ambassador for what Australian chefs can do, I question Coles choice to cast him as their ambassador.
However, it seems selecting someone who embodies Australia isn’t high on the priority list for Coles – the band featured in some of their more annoying ads (you know it: “Down down/prices are down”) is not an Aussie band. No, Status Quo are from England and none of the band members even call Australia home.
This crucial mistake by Coles in their advertising has only been further highlighted since IGA has launched their new campaign featuring comedian Anh Do. The ad celebrates Australia’s unique multicultural community, and with “The Happiest Refugee” at the helm, the ad celebrates the cultural mixing pot that makes Australia great. And, the music – well that’s ARIA award winning musician Ben Lee, born and bred in Sydney. While Ben Lee has admittedly lived for many years in various overseas locations, his music is not the key focus of the ad campaign unlike that of Status Quo in the Coles campaign.
The IGA ad celebrates Australia’s diversity and what Australia can offer, while the advertising campaign from Coles seems to treat its customers with a certain amount of disdain, with more recent ads even mocking viewers’ reaction to previous ads.
I’m not arguing for nationalistic advertising in which we parrot on about how good Australia is – we are a flawed country and I know that, but if you are going to encourage customers to buy Australian grown food, at least support Aussies who are supporting Australia.