Delhaize in a new era of retail | Effie case 2019
Delhaize - A new era of retail

Delhaize in a new era
of retail

Silver Effie +
Mention of Excellence in Media Use
Retail & e-tail


The competitive landscape of the food retail in Belgium is changing quickly. In 2009, Delhaize was the undisputable leader with the highest market share. Up until 2016, Colruyt continued to grow, whereas Delhaize lost market share. The latter suffered from the success of the hard discounters, such as Lidl and Colruyt. The focus on price war was very much to the disadvantage of Delhaize, who was perceived as too expensive versus competition. Next to the negative price perception, the retailer also suffered from an increasingly blurring brand identity. As a result, Delhaize saw its market share drop in 2017 to its lowest point in ten years' time, raising the demand for a reinforcement of the brand's positioning.

Delhaize was determined to counter the lowering market share by joining the price war. Trying to keep up with the conventional, 'no compromise' strategy, Delhaize's brand identity blurred even more. Playing on price is always an away game for a value creator as Delhaize. Historically seen, the retailer was not at all organized to compete in the price war and was doomed to lose this battle every time. But what was the alternative to the conventional 'no compromise' strategy?

The changing market context confronted the retailer with a major challenge: How could Delhaize differentiate its brand to stop the dropping market shares?

Looking at the market shares, we noticed that one specific audience is underrepresented: families with kids. Amongst this group, the market share of Delhaize is below its fair share and the leadership of Colruyt is even more striking. We realized that the negative price perception of Delhaize has played an important role in the lowering market shares amongst families with kids. Knowing that Delhaize won't be able to provide the most budget-friendly offer, the retailer decided to differentiate by adding high value to the brand. Instead of lagging behind in the conventional race to the bottom, the strategy shifted, and Delhaize took the leadership position in the race to the top.

To provide extra value to the target group of families with kids, Delhaize decided to put their customers central and analyze their everyday struggles when it comes to healthy eating. The retailer decided to help the audience with one of their biggest struggles: convincing their kids to eat more vegetables.

To create brand meaningfulness for the audience, the retailer had to offer a solution to one of parents' biggest struggles: How could Delhaize help parents to convince their (young) kids to eat more vegetables?


Business objectives
The core objective was to increase market share among families with young kids with +10% to counter the drop in overall market shares. Moreover, the campaign needed to uplift vegetable sales with 60%.

Perception objectives
To reinforce brand meaningfulness for the audience, the campaign should boost Delhaize's health perception to regain the top position in the health index.

Behavior objectives
To drive engagement with the brand, the campaign should become part of the everyday popular culture of parents and their kids.


To create brand meaningfulness for families with (young) kids, Delhaize decided to help parents in convincing their kids to eat more vegetables. Up until then, the conventional approach amongst retailers to promote eating more vegetables, was quite didactic. They were preaching and promoting, rather than offering inspiring solutions for this everyday battle. How could Delhaize step away from this conventional way of promoting vegetables and take on a unique and disruptive approach?

Key insight: from feeding information to feeding entertainment and inspiration

Delhaize decided to build a magical world around vegetables and bring Magical Veggies to life in all customer touchpoints. By creating a magical world around the vegetables and giving them fascinating names, the retailer wanted veggies to enter popular kids' culture. That's how they disrupted the conventional approach, shifting from preaching to entertaining, educating kids without really educating.

Parents were inspired and empowered to prolong the entertainment approach at home through attractive storytelling on top of the rather neutral vegetable category. The packaging was treated as a full-fledged media and gave the vegetables a face and stories to tell.


Business objectives
Delhaize managed to uplift sales of the Magical veggie products with 89% on average. Next, the overall vegetable sales increased with +13%, resulting in a higher value share for Delhaize in the vegetables category. On the longer term, the campaign had a lasting effect on the growth of the vegetable category at the affiliates of Delhaize. Finally, the campaign achieved its ultimate goal: increase market share among the underrepresented target group of families with young kids. Its market share in value rose significantly with +35% year over year.

Perception objectives
The campaign managed to strengthen our health perception and Delhaize regained its top position as the retailer that 'helps people making healthier choices'.

Behavior objectives
Delhaize managed to enter the everyday popular culture of parents and their kids with their Magical veggie campaign. A strong increase in positive word of mouth and free publicity in newspapers and national news, led to the ultimate surprise: The Magical veggies appeared in Belgium's most popular quiz on national TV, resulting in a hilarious TV moment that went viral afterwards.

Overall, the Magical veggies campaign was highly effective in reaching its objectives. Although its main purpose was to drive brand meaningfulness to turn around the dropping market shares, the initiative had a high ROI as well. For each €1 spent on the campaign, Delhaize had a return of €3,54.

Up until today, the Magical veggies campaign remains the symbol of the strategic shift Delhaize undertook in 2018, the year it was finally reversing its long-lasting drop in market shares to a positive increase. Last but not least, Delhaize decided to repeat the Magical veggie campaign in 2019.

Jo Boone

Jo studied Communication Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

She started her career at Sanoma, where she focused on content advertising. Becoming a Senior Project Manager in the content advertising department of Sanoma, Jo lay the perfect foundation for her future Marketing career. Finishing her Sanoma track in 2015 as Account Director, she became the Content Manager for AXA.

As from 2017, Jo started a new chapter at Delhaize. She started off as Marketing Manager, responsible for the category Fruit & Vegetables, Local and Health. Today, Jo is the general Campaign and Media Manager for Delhaize.

Delhaize  Jo Boone

Marieke Michils

After studying French and Spanish and graduating as a Master in Business Sciences at the Ghent University, Marieke started her career as an account at the Publicis agency.

After 5 years Marieke moved to Famous where she was promoted to Account Director for Delta Lloyd, Vandemoortele and Croky. Another 4 years later, Marieke started at TBWA, where she has been working on bpost and McDonald's.For the last 2 years she has been totally focused on the future of Delhaize as a Group Account Director.

TBWA - Marieke Michils