French Retailer Casino Circumvents TV Ad Ban with Café Campaign

27 June 2001

A television co-branding campaign by French grocery chain Casino and UK-headquartered soft drink manufacturer Virgin Cola has been given the go-ahead by France’s industry watchdog BVP despite a longstanding ban on TV ads by retailers.

The campaign – created by Piment in Paris, a unit of DDB France – promotes Casino’s in-store cafeterias. BVP accepted the grocer’s argument that the TV spot was aimed at building its share in the fast food market, not promoting itself as a retailer.

The ruling allows Casino – one of France’s biggest restaurateurs with 230 cafeterias nationwide – to circumvent the 1992 governmental decree forbidding retailers from advertising on TV, instigated at the request of regional newspapers, most of whose ad income derives from the distribution sector.

Due to be aired nationally in early July, the commercial follows the supermarket’s recent strategy of emphasising the quality of food at its inexpensive, self-service restaurants, compared with that at fast food chains such as McDonalds.

The campaign also provides Casino’s soft drink partner Virgin Cola with a platform to promote its new, clear plastic bottle, which, the British company claims, ensures the drink stays colder for longer.

News source: AdAge Global