What possessed Roundy’s (who own the dominant grocery store in the area, Pick’n’Save) to think that what will really sell crap to people is a besuited white guy with cult-of-personality issues, called “Chairman Bob,” and his retinue of sycophants (including, of course, a cute woman in a too-short skirt)? Is this some sort of half-assed takeoff on The Office (which would be a dumb idea…memo to Roundy’s HQ: Michael Scott is clearly meant to be seen as an idiot – with sympathetic qualities to be sure, but still, an idiot)? I mean, I know when I want to buy a bag of potato chips, I want to make sure that the chips compel some guy in a suit to stick his thumb in the air and bark “approved!” in a disturbingly Pavlovian manner. There’s a website (I’m not direct-linking it – but it’s Flash-heavy, and it’s at meetchairmanbob.com), which seems to be going for a sort of Get Smart vibe…but why?
I saw these suit-clad thumbs at Pick’n’Save a few weeks ago, and I was a bit nonplussed (I don’t watch TV, so if they’ve saturated the market with TV ads, I hadn’t seen them) and was vaguely curious why they thought this was a good idea…but seeing a print ad in a local magazine, and checking the website, convinced me someone’s spending way more money on this than they’re likely to generate.
More proof that marketers are way, way less intelligent than they think they are. I mean, Pick’n’Save already hugely dominates area grocery sales…their chief competitors (from below and above, respectively) will be Wal-Mart (once it rolls out grocery stores in the area) and, maybe, Sendik’s (which is expanding rapidly). I don’t think a guy in a suit is really appealing to either demographic. What’s the point? Whatever it is, I’m missing it. I don’t think there are very many people around here who aren’t aware of Pick’n’Save, and if they are but don’t shop there, I can’t see them deciding to do so on the basis of this ad campaign. One possibility, I suppose, is that the ads prominently mention the Roundy’s name – not Pick’n’Save – so it could be either that there are other Roundy’s-owned stores regionally less dominant than Pick’n’Save…or that Roundy’s is planning on phasing out the “Pick’n’Save” name in favor of “Roundy’s”…and is trying to move away from the midlevel discount feel of the Pick’n’Save brand.