No. Really. It was very exciting! Because the product we were selling was Whole Foods Market. An unassailably great brand that we absolutely adore. I looooove this brand. Everybody does.

John Mackey – the founder of Whole Foods -clearly saw into the future and that future is now here. Whole Foods Market turned boring old grocery shopping into a sensory and intellectual treat. They curate the world of good food for you and present it in a very exciting way.

Legendary Chicago mobster Sam Giancana once defined “vice” as: “If it makes your pulse quicken, it’s a vice”. Sounds good. Well then, Whole Foods Market is a vice to me. The thought of going there literally excites me. What can I say, I have a weakness for this brand. As do many others.

So we figured let’s just present that reality on TV without any adornment. Whole Foods’ devotion to what they do is blindingly evident in their selection and their extremely knowledgeable and passionate employees. So we did the obvious thing and combined both of those into very conventional sounding commercials: store employees talking knowledgably about the products. Except these are for Whole Foods dude! Whole Foods! So the employees love what they do and the products they sell are amazing.

I’m not even that big of an olive fan but Whole Foods Market’s vast selection of freshly prepared olives has always impressed me. It just speaks volumes. 26 different types of olives? That’s just crazy. Surely ten would be more than enough. you can see the spot here.

They also sell the freshest ocean-caught fish in the Midwest. We are VERY far from the ocean here in Chicago. Very far indeed. I grew up in an irish sea port town. I know fresh fish. This fish is fresh! So we made this spot about that.

PS: We ate the halibut featured in this commercial for lunch. We’ll never forget you Stanley! You were delicious.

We also did an ad for their freshly made sausage. They actually make lots of different kinds of sausage, by hand, every single day.

Thanks and best wishes to Whole Foods Market clients Maggie Bahler and Ashley Heaton for being so nice and so fun to work with. Whole Foods people really are what you’d hope they’d be. Hence our commercials! And it’s nice to see them getting a bit of recognition. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lewis Lazare was fulsome in his praise of our efforts. You can read his review here.


  1. Are these only running locally or will they be adapted for other markets?

  2. currently running on cable TV only in zip codes adjacent to new store in schaumburg. it’s quite a spread out almost exurban area. hence zip-code targeted TV idea.

    but intended for use where ever Whole Foods opens a new store.

  3. Philip Eaton-Hogg

    Well done, sir. Well done.

  4. inspired by “The Soda Guy” I assume.

  5. riki, the idea was inspired by my experiences at Whole Foods. the things that always struck me as telling. Executionally the soda guy was somewhat of a reference. as was Errol Morris etc.

  6. yeah, I’m cool with that.

    just thought of the emotional input from all employees. proud loyal people are best sales force. always loved that.

    ads are nice. I’m pretty certain people will love it.

  7. I love Whole Foods. Wish I had one local to me. And being a HUGE fan of the Ad Contrarian these are spots he would be proud of. They talk about products and they sell the brand/store without any mumbo jumbo. Whole Foods ranks number 1 by Greenpeace on their seafood procurement for sustainability. So loved the Seafood Spot! I don’t buy seafood at my local market because its either farm raised or frozen stuff.

    I know the Seafood fact because Trader Joe’s finally succumbed to pressure to change their seafood procurement. And Whole Foods was #1 on the GP rankings. Though they only barely passed store wide for sustainability practices across all product segments (47 out of 100pts).

  8. Ah, the recent interest in fish now makes sense. I’m all about saving our finned little friends. They are tasty.

    A friend of mine is the wine buyer for the Evanston Whole Foods. Very passionate guy. And a good guy to have as a friend, lots of good wines.

  9. howie, yes it was very refreshing and cathartic to calmly sell a product in a very direct manner in this age of crowd-sourced augmented reality social media.

    dan, fish interest completely coincidental actually. funny how things work out.

    riki, i love these ads. we shot five of them in one day for very little money.

  10. My only point of reference is the soda guy too, Vinny, but what difference does it make?
    Where the idea comes from is not important, it’s all about where the idea is going, right?
    Good stuff …as per bloody usual! Ha.

  11. glad you liked john. thanks. there was no chance this was ever going to be anything but WF employees talking about their wonderful wares. they have the people and the product to do it. not many do.

  12. I love it Vinny, great stuff.

  13. Thanks Vic. and thanks for the linkage. it really was cathartic to do this. direct selling on the TV! a real fantasy come true for me. i’m not being facetious.

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