Hey, did you guys know that for the next ten days it’s USA week at your local Jumbo? I, for one, did not get the memo from the U.S. Embassy here in Santiago and it’s a good thing that we subscribe to “El Mercurio” (Chile’s leading newspaper) on the weekends, otherwise, how would I have known?? Thankfully, upon opening today’s paper, the following circular slipped out, alerting me to the fact that between July 8 – 18, it’s USA Week at Jumbo.
Obviously my curiosity was piqued and so I took a gander.
Now, maybe I’m alone when I say this, but I’m always happy when I go to my local Jumbo and see products I recognize from back home. Simple things like Snickers bars or Top Ramen soup make me really happy. It’s nice to see brands and logos I know and love in a sea of those that I can’t tell you much about. I know that Campbell’s is “Mmmm, mmm, good” but not sure what Maggi soups are … as a result, I don’t get the same cozy, warm fuzzy feeling about Maggi as I do about Campbell’s soups. This goes for all brands in Chile – since I didn’t grow up here, they mean nothing to me on a personal level. Therefore I’m a marketers nightmare -OR- I’m a consumer a marketer disregards completely because I’m a lost cause. How can a consumer associate feelings with particular brands if they did not grow up seeing these brands and the publicity around them?
Which is why, from a marketing point of view, I have to commend Jumbo for reaching out to the American population that is constantly expanding here in Santiago. Even the cover of this circular speaks to us because an African American woman (or perhaps AA decent) is depicted on the cover – something we Americans completely regard as natural even though the majority of the people who live in the U.S. are not of African American decent. In all areas of marketing in the U.S. it’s important for companies and brands to make sure to be “equal opportunity” and to do the best they can to depict the melting pot that is the population at large in the 50 States. [Of course one can argue that if a company or brand fails to do this in their promotions, they can be targeted as “racist” and well, that would be a PR nightmare for any business.] In general, Chilean advertising never depicts people of darker color. First because Chileans don’t associate with that and further, don’t aspire to that (perhaps the main reason why most models in advertisements are blonde) and second, Chileans are pretty homogeneous in their looks and simply put, there aren’t many dark skinned people walking around the country. Therefore, I’m concluding that this woman was used on the cover to specifically speak to Americans in Santiago.
On a similar note, perhaps it’s that Jumbo is advertising to those who aspire to all things American. After all, this country definitely looks north for trends and success stories, so why not harness that attention and promote food from the U.S.? Whatever the motivation for this focus on our food, the bottom line is that somehow, with someone, this promotion must mean mad money to Jumbo.
So what’s being advertised in the circular?
“Productos Exclusivos” (exclusive products) for the most part and many of them brands I don’t even recognize! I realized that perhaps the reason for this is because Jumbo (or Cencosud, owners of the Jumbo supermarket chains) have an exclusive agreement with Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, a non-profit organization that promotes the export of food and agricultural products from the midwestern region of the United States. That probably explains why the peanut butter being advertised is “Algood” and the maple syrup is “Shur Fine.” I’m from California, so my main thought is “where’s the Jiffy and the Aunt Jemima?” I’ve never been to the Midwest so can’t attest anything about these brands, but one thing’s for sure: beggars can’t be choosers and I’d much rather have the choice between chunky and creamy peanut butter versus no peanut butter at all. Even if that means consuming Kmart’s Blue Light Special private label or whatever unknown brands are being imported. Call me crazy.
But that’s the key thing to keep in mind, right? Beggars (as in me) can’t be choosers. I’m in a strange land with strange food and labels (most yummy though, I will admit) and if I can find pancake mix, cranberry juice (trust me, it’s no picnic trying to find cranberry anything here) or root beer, I’ll disregard the relatively unknown label in lieu of having a small slice of home in my Chilean refrigerator.
In any case, hats off to Jumbo for embracing their American population and those who favor all things American. Yeah USA Week is a little late since 4th of July was LAST weekend but hey, I’ll take it. Plus it helps promote the food that’s manufactured and grown there. That’s a nice thought considering how much food we import ourselves from Chile and Mexico. So, thank you Jumbo. I may not be changing my shopping habits all that much, but I’m happy to see some peanut butter and Ocean’s Spray cranberry juice all up in here:
Some good ol’ American style stuffing:
But find it really, really funny that on the page advertising American sodas, A&W Root Beer (#4) is promoted as “Cerveza sin alcohol Root Beer.” Or non-alcoholic beer Root Beer.
I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. We wouldn’t want people purchasing the root beer and thinking they can get a buzz off drinking several cans of it. That would be false advertising for those who don’t get that the “beer” doesn’t really mean beer. Oh Chile… don’t ever be so funny and fabulous in your advertising!