No Frills is adding a bit more “Blam!” and a smattering of “Sock!” to its marketing strategy.
Loblaw Companies Ltd.’s discount grocery chain continues to reshape the idea of what grocery store marketing can be with the release of a comics-inspired campaign known as “The Haulerverse.”
The animated campaign from agency partner John St. is constructed around four main characters, three based on shopper archetypes and the fourth representing a typical No Frills employee. They are:
- Meg: The older “OG Hauler” who has years of hauling under her belt;
- Nia: The Digital Deal Hunter who finds deals online before making her move, using the weekly digital flyer to seek out deals;
- Jeff: The Budget Boss who has a lot on his list, but always gets it for less; and
- Hank: The Deal Slinger who slings deals with his laser shooting price gun and shows “frills” who’s boss
The campaign is launching with a 60-second anchor spot introducing the superhero squad and beginning with an obvious nod to the iconic Marvel comics introduction, except with superhero-related imagery replaced by No Frills-related visuals. A central hub, Haulerverse.com, houses the video as well as related stickers, GIFS and Instagram filters.
No Frills director of marketing Ashley McGill said the campaign is intended to capture the thrill that No Frills shoppers—who have been known as “Haulers” since 2018— feel when they vanquish the “frills” that can creep into their grocery bill.
“[W]e needed a campaign that was both aspirational and unifying, but also stayed true to the brand,” said McGill. “And what’s more aspirational than tapping into the bravado of comic superheroes.”
The goal, she said, is for customers to see themselves in one of the archetypes, while reliving the “joy and exhilaration” that comes with triumphing over high prices. The “Haulerverse” is the latest in a series of pop culture-related marketing approaches for No Frills, following last year’s Hauler: Aisles of Glory video game, and this summer’s album drop Haulin’ State of Mind.
“Pop culture has allowed us to break through and be part of the conversation instead of just advertising,” said McGill. “When we launch an album, we work with real local talent and drop an album like a label would. You have to know this foray into launching a comic universe will be no different.”