UPDATED: Coles announced on July 12 that their new Little Shop 2 miniature grocery collectibles would return to stores on July 17. A few hours later, Woolworths announced that The Lion King Ooshies figurine movie tie-in promo would roar into stores on July 17.
Both supermarkets have a long history of successful promotions aimed at children, which have been paying dividends on balance sheets. Both companies’ share prices rallied after the launch announcements. Media reports state that customers – eager to be the first to grab a collectible – were lining up outside some stores before opening hours on July 17.
The collectibles started appearing for sale on auction sites soon after they were released. Examples of posts included a gold Zazu Ooshie listed on auction site ebay for $1,000, and a “Rare Sunset Simba” for $30,000 – although neither had sold at the time of writing, they did show a number of “watchers” monitoring the listing. Full sets of Little Shop 2 collectibles were listed for sale on ebay for as much as $250, with even higher prices for a full set of the accessories, which included a cash register, shopfront, trolley, basket, truck, apron and collector case.
Coles Little Shop was a runaway success for Coles, when it kicked off last year. Woolworths even mentioned it when explaining their less-than-expected first-quarter sales last year. Coles reported that sales of some of the products featured in the Little Shop promo increased in sales by 50 per cent.
However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing this year for either supermarket.
Coles has been dogged by social media comments claiming the campaign was an unnecessary plastics polluter. Many of the comments focus on the fact that the campaign was launched in “Plastics-free July” – a global movement started by an Australian environmental group Plastics Free Foundation – and just after single-use plastic bags were banned by most Australian states and territories. Coles has responded to the criticism, saying that customers can recycle the mini-toys’ plastic wrappers at any of their stores. There have also been concerns expressed on social media about the series including a mini credit card.
Woolworths have based their promotion on the remake of the 1994 Disney animated classic The Lion King movie, which received mix reviews at the box office when it hit cinemas, also on July 17. Rotten Tomatoes recorded a rating of just 56% (the original movie scored as high as 93% and a “certified fresh” rating), while Rolling Stone magazine only gave the new The Lion King two-and-a-half stars.
The success of these latest campaigns will likely be closely watched by investors, and the nation’s children are likely to be watching closely, too, if previous years are used as a judge.
But Canstar’s Group Executive of Financial Services Steve Mickenbecker said when it came to rewards, whether they’re flight rewards or collectable items, it’s important consumers remembered their household budget.
“Never spend more just to earn a reward,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“In the long run, you could end up paying more than the rewards are worth in higher credit card bills.”
The Coles statement said: From Wednesday 17 July, customers will be offered a free collectable with every $30 spent at Coles supermarkets, Coles Online and for the first time customers will be able to collect Little Shop minis at Coles Express with fuel or convenience store purchases.
From 17 July, Woolworths customers will be able to collect 24 Lion King Ooshies, with every $30 they spend in store or online, while stocks last.
When announcing the collection, Woolworths Programs Manager Sarah De La Mare played up the campaign’s environmental credentials.
“We’ve sought to create a fun and exciting shopping experience for Australian families, while also being mindful of our environmental responsibilities.
“We’re passionate about the circular economy, and have established a partnership with TerraCycle to turn any pre-loved Ooshies into plastic pellets. The pellets will be used to make outdoor products such as garden beds, decks, fences and benches.
“So if a customer receives a Lion King Ooshie and changes their mind or no longer wants it, they simply need to drop the Ooshie back to their local Woolworths store and we will send it to TerraCycle for recycling.”
Complete list of products included in the Little Shop Collector Case:
- Heritage Mill Apple Crumble Clusters
- Leggos Pizza Sauce
- Arnotts Orginal Barbecue Shapes
- Gillette Fusion 5 Razor
- Bref Power Active Juicy Lemon Toilet Cleaner
- Eclipse Spearmint Mints
- Primo English Style Ham
- Olay Complete Defence Moisturising Lotion
- Chobani Greek Yoghurt Flip
- My Dog Meaty Loaf
- Coles Special Burger Sauce
- Finish Dishwashing Cleaner
- Coles Prepaid Gift Card
- Messy Monkeys Snack Bars
- Coles Ultimate Choc Chip Cookies
- Maggi Chicken Wholemeal 2 minute noodles
- Bulla Thickened Cream
- Moccona Classic Medium Roast Coffee
- Latina Fresh Beef Ravioli
- Australian Field Fresh Garden Peas
- Kleenex Value Pack Toilet Paper
- Australia’s Own Full Cream A2 Protein Milk
- Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling Water
- Tip Top The One Bread
- Dynamo Professional Washing Liquid
- Heinz Baked Beans No Added Sugar
- Edgell Black Beans
- Campbells Condensed Tomato Soup