A Progressive Transformation - The Countdown Story
A Progressive Transformation - The Countdown Story
Awards
Nexus Strategic Vision Bronze
Entrant
Progressive Enterprises
Nominee
Ogilvy New Zealand
Entrant Credits
Sally Copland, Bridget Lamont, Jacques Losken
Nominee Credits
Amy Dufty, Maria Hodgson, Damon O'Leary
Entry Rationale

Retail is a tough category. Consumers want a brand they can trust and can build a long-term relationship with. But they also want deals. And ideas. And nice stores to shop in. And great service.  Hell, they want everything. What’s more, grocery retailing is a game of fractions of percentages. A minor change in market share equates to millions of dollars in gained or lost revenue. In this environment, most brands find a position and defend it to the death. Anything else is just too risky.

Progressive Enterprises (PEL) operates 159 Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworths supermarkets. From 2007 PEL was losing share to rival supermarket operator Foodstuffs. Foodstuffs brands, New World (premium) and Pak ‘n Save (value) had the market covered. By comparison, Progressive’s brands lacked clear positioning and were being constantly outmanoeuvred. To chance the game, PEL had to reinvent and break the old paradigm of premium = quality at a price, and value = lower prices but lesser quality.

The strategy
Consolidate three ill defined brands into one – Countdown – with a bold, decisive positioning.

This entry deserves to win because of PEL’s courage. Faced with the perfectly reasonable option of replicating the Foodstuffs model (two brands; one quality, one price), PEL ignored the “rules” and went for broke. In the process, they addressed the decline in market share and turned the tide on Foodstuffs. Just as importantly, they delivered a whole new value proposition to shoppers – allowing customers to ‘have it all’ quality products, a wide range of brands, and great prices.

Here’s one of several proof points: In the two months followed the launch of the Colemans campaign designed to be an ‘everyman’ family (November 2010), PEL gained 1.8% market share, representing millions of dollars of revenue.