The human urge to collect is a powerful one (and makes for excellent television). And our local supermarkets have been tapping into this urge in recent years, whether through tiny groceries or animal cards. Now Countdown has struck up a deal with Disney Pixar for its latest collectables campaign, Domino Stars.
In pretty much every case, the nation seems to have gone completely mad for supermarket chains’ collectables, with swap meets being organised, black markets being established and kids regularly tugging on parents’ pants demanding the full set (and the associated plastic tat).
This new campaign features 50 dominoes with characters from movies like Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life, Up, WALL-E, Brave, Cars and Inside Out. Customers will receive a free domino with every $20 spent in-store or online at Countdown until 13 September.
Countdown, which recently shifted a big chunk of its sizeable budget out of newspapers, has already worked with the Dreamworks franchise for a previous campaign (and Z got into the action with its DC Blokheads).
“By taking a classic toy and giving it a modern twist with the Disney Pixar characters, we’ve created a toy that evokes nostalgia for an older generation and introduces dominoes to a new generation in an exciting way,” says Countdown general manager marketing Bridget Lamont in a release. “We’ve had an incredible response from shoppers to our previous collectables and we anticipate Disney Pixar Domino Stars will be just as popular.”
It’s always good if your marketing can help pay for itself (DB’s Brewtroleum is an interesting example of that and retailers often see marketing as a profit centre because suppliers pay to be included in their material). And as with many of the other collectables campaigns, Countdown is selling ‘supporting merchandise’ like a bridge, maze, staircase and spinners. They range in price from $3 to $10.
“It’s about giving us a different conversation to have with customers other than just price. So, we’ve run a number of homeware programmes—we’ve had Jamie Oliver crockery, glasses and crockery and kitchen knives—and those very much are about the household shopper … It’s a classic example of what’s old is new again. Collecting cards is nothing new. I remember as a child getting cards out of Weetbix packets. What I find fascinating about the recent programmes is that it’s relatively old-fashioned. It’s not a high-tech thing. It’s just paper. Yet, we’ve had people queuing up for swap days for something that’s moderately old-fashioned.”
She said its last campaign, Super Animals, which offered cards featuring different creatures (and a contraption to hear what they sounded like when the cards were swiped), was a huge success and she says that was because it had an educational component.
“Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that we will only ever do programmes that have an education element to them, but it’s clear that when you get the combination of education, collectability and scarcity, then you get the kids, their parents and the schools engaged. This was seen an opportunity for a learning experience. It wasn’t just a supermarket promotion.”
Not everyone is so enamoured with these kinds of campaigns, however—parents and even schools included. Writing about Countdown’s very popular Dreamworks campaign from last year, Kath Dewar said they may be “skillfully structured to require a spend of slightly (five percent) above the average household spend on food and beverages for the period”, but they have a sting in their tail, and they can be socially and environmentally damaging.
As she wrote: “In the UK, research shows £2 billion (NZ $3.82billion) a year is spent by parents on things they don’t need as a result of ‘pester-power’. While 50 percent of parents explain to their children they simply can’t afford the items, always a fun conversation, as many as 10 percent just buy the item finding resistance ‘too hard’. So there’s no doubt pester-power is effective and puts an added strain on households already facing hardship.”
This story originally appeared on StopPress.