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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas Countdown


The video above is the Christmas ad for Countdown, one of New Zealand’s two national grocery store chains. This ad is the same as in 2016 [WATCH], but I didn’t share at the time. This particular video is the long version—the actual ad currently shown on television is 30 seconds, so there are some bits cut out of it. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of “Christmas in New Zealand” in this ad.

Countdown is owned by Australian supermarket company Woolworth’s, through its New Zealand subsidiary, Progressive Enterprises (chains include Countdown, SuperValue, and FreshChoice), and a fair number of the products sold are either from Woolworth’s or sourced overseas by the Australian parent (I still remember seeing Egyptian breakfast cereal on the shelves for a short a time). Despite that, Countdown mainly sells New Zealand-made products, “Australasian” products (often local products made by international food conglomerates), or imported stuff (including a lot more products imported from America than was the case when I first moved to New Zealand). This means that Countdown is very much like its supermarket rival, the New Zealand cooperative company Foodstuffs (chains include New World, Pak’nSave, and Four Square). From what I can tell, most people seem to choose the store they shop at mainly based on price, convenience, or habit (I’m mostly the second two).

Countdown’s ads are generally not all that interesting, but I think this Christmas ad is particularly nice, not the least because it touches on much of the cultural imagery—tropes, if you like—of a Kiwi Christmas. Christmas ads are an appropriate time to do that, and I think this ad does it well.

Full disclosure: I do my “big shops” at Countdown, and my frequent “in between shops” at Four Square, which is 5 minutes from the house (Countdown is about 20 minutes away). In the past, I was a regular shopper at New World when we lived only a few minutes away from one.

Related: New World’s Christmas ads.

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