A Vegan Goes Paleo in Whole Foods' First Campaign Following Amazon Acquisition

Campaign Featuring Quirky Shoppers Is First From MullenLowe After Agency Won Business Last Fall

Published On
Feb 05, 2018

Editor's Pick

Whole Foods Market's first marketing campaign since its $13.7 billion acquisition by Amazon last August is out, and the first batch of spots seem targeted at a distinctly young, decidedly quirky demographic.

Under the tagline "Whatever Makes You Whole," the new push includes the tale of a bearded vegan-turned-paleo and his carnivorous needs; a dad who loads up his cart but forgets his real reason for being there (diapers); a milquetoast-looking dude who wants some cheese, but has no idea what kind a young woman who likes to "verify" the quality of food samples through second helpings and a guy who's clueless about how to determine whether fruit is ripe or not.

Whole Foods, which is based in Austin, worked with MullenLowe LA on the new work. It's the agency's first campaign since it became the grocer's creative agency of record last October following a competitive review that pre-dated its purchase by Amazon. MediaCom, which was appointed Whole Foods' media agency last year, handled media planning duties.

The emphasis on shoppers and Whole Foods staffers may help Whole Foods shed the "whole paycheck" baggage that has plagued it for years; such a reputation is no longer as accurate now that the chain is owned by lower-price-touting Amazon.

"Historically, we've been focused as a brand on telling our story in terms of our quality differential," explains Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, who joined Whole Foods as global VP of marketing two years ago after a stint at Walmart-owned Sam's Club. "This campaign was really intended to move the brand to a much more human place ... but also have a strong nod to the individuality and diversity of everyone that loves the brand."

The new advertising, including national TV, radio, digital and out-of-home, starts Feb. 5 and runs throughout 2018. Whole Foods produced around 15 15- and 30-second spots for the first round of production; five commercials will air this month.

Read more about the effort here.