Store wars: The return of the collectables

By Zizi Sparks

Ethan Dharmai, 9, collected the 42-card set of Countdown's Dreamworks Heroes this year. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Ethan Dharmai, 9, collected the 42-card set of Countdown's Dreamworks Heroes this year. Photo / Sarah Ivey

It's that time of year again - the supermarkets are trying to lure customers with collectable toys and dinnerware.

Parents have only just recovered from Countdown's Dreamworks Heroes Cards frenzy, now New World's Little Shop is back - much to the probable delight of thousands of children.

The Little Shop will make a return on Monday while Countdown's latest sticker collection campaign, Jamie At Your Table, for Jamie Oliver dinnerware launches today.

Previous campaigns from both supermarkets exploded as Countdown's Dreamworks Heroes and New World's Little Shop collectables popped up all over Facebook and Trade Me, and both supermarkets held swap meets for collectors. Some items can still be found online for trading.

Auckland University associate professor of marketing Richard Brookes said campaigns such as these, which were similar to promotions the supermarkets had already run, succeeded because humans were creatures of habit.

"We always have this inclination to do things we have done before," he said. "Once we start collecting, it's a natural inclination to continue."

He said success also comes down to whether a promotion is applicable to the average person.

"If I'm going to spend money on this on a regular basis, it needs to be relevant," he said. "It has to be logical - the 'I need', and emotional - the 'I want' or 'I like'."

Mr Brookes said Oliver is a clever choice as his name is aligned with connotations of value, while the Little Shop collectables are likely to draw in children and families.

With just over a month gone since the Dreamworks Heroes cards that sent children into a frenzy left Countdown, Little Shop's return to New World shows there's no end for parents to campaigns targeting their children.

Ethan Dharmai, 10, collected the 42-card set of Countdown's Dreamworks Heroes this year and his mother Pearl has no doubt her son will pressure her to shop at New World during the coming promotion.

Ethan said he likes collecting items because they are "something you can treasure" and agreed he would be sending his mum to New World to collect the newest miniatures.

New World's campaign launches on Monday and a spokeswoman from Foodstuffs, the company that owns the New World supermarket chain, said details would be revealed then.

Countdown's Jamie At Your Table promotion runs until the end of November and customers receive one stamp for every $20 they spend. Once they have five they can buy a piece of Jamie Oliver dinnerware at half price.

A Countdown spokeswoman said previous promotions have been hugely successful with more than 2.7 million knife, glass and cutlery packs have been collected by customers in campaigns over the past few years.

The launch of rival campaigns adds to the ongoing war between supermarkets which resulted in the price of bread dropping to $1 across major supermarkets.

- NZ Herald

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