Stores Not Ads

Austin American-Statesman: On a recent episode of the HBO drama “Six Feet Under,” Brenda Chenowith, one of the main characters, told her husband, Nate Fisher, to pick up some soy milk at Whole Foods on his way home.
In March, actress Sandra Bullock gushed about Whole Foods’ just-opened downtown Austin store on David Letterman’s late-night talk show.
It’s the kind of publicity for which many companies shell out big bucks.
But Whole Foods Market Inc. doesn’t pay for product placements or mentions on television shows. It has managed to make its brand name synonymous with healthy living, and grow its sales at a double-digit clip, while spending little on traditional advertising and marketing.
Whole Foods doesn’t have to spend heavily on advertising, said John Moore, head of Brand Autopsy, an Austin marketing consulting firm and a former marketing manager at Whole Foods.
“They never set out to build a brand,” he said. “They set out to build a business, one that stood for something. They build bigger, better stores rather than bigger, funnier ads.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.