Choice move at Loblaw

When the president left President's Choice earlier this year, he took away the long-time advertising strategy for the private label brand and Loblaws supermarkets.Dave Nichol, the former president of Loblaw International Merchants, was key to the 1978 introduction of Loblaws' first...

When the president left President’s Choice earlier this year, he took away the long-time advertising strategy for the private label brand and Loblaws supermarkets.

Dave Nichol, the former president of Loblaw International Merchants, was key to the 1978 introduction of Loblaws’ first store brand, No-Name.

As well, Nichol was behind the development of President’s Choice, Loblaws’ premium quality private label brand which entered the marketplace in December 1983 as the answer to consumer demand for top-end store-brand products.

Nichol has also been the focal point of Loblaw advertising for the past 10 years.

His successor, Robert Chenaux, president of Loblaw Brands, Corporate Brands Division, says Nichol’s high profile marketing style is not for him.

Chenaux says marketing efforts for President’s Choice will be less flamboyant.

He says advertising will be more traditional and results-oriented, adding he feels it would be a lose-lose situation to again build advertising around one central person.

A new President’s Choice campaign is expected to hit the streets in the near future, although Chenaux will not reveal details.

Nichol, with Loblaw Cos. since 1972, left to develop and market his own products as Dave Nichol & Associates.

On Oct. 1, he took over as president of Loblaw supplier Cott, a Toronto-based soft drink bottler and maker of store brand products.

After Nichol’s departure, Loblaw Brands was formed to amalgamate two divisions, Intersave and Loblaw International Merchants.

Chenaux was previously president of Intersave, which handled the procurement, sourcing and distribution of corporate brands including President’s Choice.

Loblaw International Merchants developed and marketed the products.

Chenaux, who has been with Loblaw for 20 years, was second-in-command to Nichol, a position which allowed him to view firsthand the pros and cons of Nichol’s approach.

The company has had a long history of using celebrity spokespeople in its advertising, including William Shatner, a Canadian actor well-known for his starring role in the tv series Star Trek.

Under Nichol’s direction, advertising for President’s Choice featured Nichol as spokesperson and he became well-known to tv watchers in his commercials and infomercials for pc products.

As a household name in North America, Nichol introduced his ‘Insider’s Report’ featuring new products and recipes, put out a best-selling cookbook for pc products, and dominated weekly flyers with his recipes and product tips.

He even set up an in-house studio at the Loblaw headquarters to produce the broadcast advertising.

As with the introduction of private-branded products, Loblaw has also been a pioneer in its advertising.

It was one of the first to go the infomercial route, and with Nichol as the president in President’s Choice, a leader in using that advertising to build relationships with its customers.

The first marketing venture for the brand under Chenaux may be his way of preparing the public for a more traditional Loblaw.

President’s Choice has signed as exclusive sponsor of the third annual charity ball for the Look Good…Feel Better public service program to be held next month in Toronto.

The program was founded by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation in 1992 to help restore self-esteem in women living with cancer by teaching beauty techniques through educational material and workshops in 22 centres across Canada.

There are more than 1,800 products wearing the President’s Choice label marketed through Loblaws and other supermarkets in Canada and the u.s.