‘A waste of money’ what the press are saying about the Countdown rebrand

by | Jul 20, 2023 | Opinion

News comes to us this week of Countdown’s plan to spend $400,000,000 rebranding their supermarkets as Woolworths, a name most of them were trading under as long ago as 2009.

Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a rebrand for a company that has no meaningful competition and would probably still do a roaring trade by hanging a cardboard sign on the door with “Woolworths Welcomes the Lumpen Proletariat” written in different coloured felt tip does seem a bit pointless, doesn’t it?

But hey-ho. Ours is not to wonder why. It’s not like an Australian owned company is making so much profit that they simply don’t know what to do with it. It’s not like anyone is just throwing millions of dollars at the boys in the marketing department to make sure no one has to declare record profits in the middle of a cost of living crisis, right? That’s not what’s happening. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Aotearoa’s press has been nudged from its state of resigned inertia to pass comment on the situation, like a dad being forced out of bed on Saturday morning to listlessly reprimand a child for eating his sister’s biscuits.

The Herald justified the cost of their paywall by hitting up the socials of ‘ordinary kiwis’ to see what they thought. Turns out ‘ordinary kiwis’ think the whole thing is ‘a waste of money’, and that the supermarket chain might be better served opting for honesty and simply dropping the ‘o’.

Stuff mostly straight-bats the story but do point out that ‘New Zealand’s supermarket duopoly… were making $430m a year in excess profits.’ Taking $400m and giving it to Nigel and the boys in the marketing department sure would make that number look better, eh?

Stuff has also written a whole article by looking at the comments on Countdown’s Facebook page. Spoiler alert: most people would prefer it if the company reduced its prices and gave their staff pay rises. Similar messages have been posted on the Facebook page belonging to the collective will of all earth’s mosquitos, requesting them to stop sucking the blood of humanity and spreading disease. Neither Woolworths nor the mosquito have responded at the time of writing.

Newshub hit the mean streets of Wellington, specifically Cuba Street, home of the Bucket Fountain, a wide variety of street drinkers, and the site of Woolworths’ first New Zealand store opened in 1929. They found one poor schmo who said of the rebrand: “It’s nostalgic, I like it.”

A vox pop for the ages there.

You can have your completely ineffective but possibly cathartic say by scribbling on the grocery giant’s Facebook page. Alternatively, grab some friends and a shovel and commence digging up a Countdown carpark near you. Sow some wheat, barley and potatoes and prepare the soil for the great agrarian socialist paradise to come.

See you there.


About the Author

David Wrigley

David is a writer and musician from Kemureti/ Cambridge. He has been published in Noble Rot, Nourish Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, and is currently working on his first novel. He has done his time in restaurants in Aotearoa and the UK. Oh, yes. He has done his time.

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