The answer to that trick question, of course, is that there is no new Trader Joe’s advertising campaign.
Nor for that matter, is there an old Trader Joe’s campaign. The 350-plus stores grocery chain, with stores in about half the states, simply doesn’t do any advertising to speak of. And yet it seems none the worse for its media invisibility.
What’s their secret? The founder, Joe Coulumbe, has said, “We built Trader Joe’s on wine first, then food.” (We all know of the Two Buck Chuck that has a $1.99 price tag in California.) But that just doesn’t seem like enough of a reason for its successfully avoiding the expense of advertising.
- Is its success due to short inventory? (Unlike most grocery stores, which may carry over 50,000 items, Trader Joe’s stocks about 4,000.)
- Is it because about 80% of its stock is private label?
- Is it the South Seas motif?
- Is it because products with the "Trader Joe's" brand contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, no MSG or trans fats?
Sorry, I have no idea as to what single fact, or combination, may have created the mystique. But obviously the reasons companies advertise—maintain market share, increase visibility, add outlets, respond to competition, build the brand—do not apply here.
Even their Twitter and Facebook social media seems to be more about simply listing their products rather than encouraging community participation or offering coupons.
Trader Joe’s is not the first to forgo advertising. Hershey Chocolate, started in 1894, didn’t do any media advertising till 1970. But the point is that you, like most others, probably do advertise your product/service. And should continue to do so, don’t you think?