Fun With Flyers at Trade Joe's

Among Trader Joe's assets is its advertising vehicle, the monthly Fearless Flyer magazine, which features a combination of special buys and unique items in a format that differs from typical price-and-item supermarket ads. While the big chains run hundreds of items in ads that all look alike, Trader Joe's tells interesting stories about its unique products, explained Art Turock, a Kirkland, Wash.-based

Among Trader Joe's assets is its advertising vehicle, the monthly Fearless Flyer magazine, which features a combination of special buys and unique items in a format that differs from typical price-and-item supermarket ads.

“While the big chains run hundreds of items in ads that all look alike, Trader Joe's tells interesting stories about its unique products,” explained Art Turock, a Kirkland, Wash.-based consultant. “Its advertising principle is ‘less is more,’ and that poses a constant challenge to supermarkets to be more creative.”

Excerpts from a recent Fearless Flyer include:

  • On fish tacos: “Many attempts at creating the ‘perfect fish taco’ have been made. In fact, we're not above admitting we've been behind a number of those attempts. Until now, we never felt that we got it right. But with our new, frozen marinated fish tacos with poblano cilantro salsa, we're pretty sure ‘perfeccion de los pescados’ has finally been achieved.”

  • On organic veggie tortilla strips: “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on — oh, excuse us. We decided to sample some of these chips and suddenly found ourselves bursting into song!”

  • On pecan sticky buns: “Our new pecan sticky buns really do take the cake. We feel strongly that our frozen croissants are super-simple to make but, surprising even to us, these sticky buns are even easier. In the spirit of full disclosure, our pecan sticky buns feature plenty of pecans and deliciously sweet ‘goo’ (a.k.a. caramelized sugar). We find them irresistible.”

  • On Trader Joe's Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches: “[They] are the end product of months of tasting and re-tasting by our panel. (Yes, it's a messy job, but we were definitely up to the task.)”

  • On wasabi mayonnaise: “We carried this product for a number of years before discontinuing it to make room for newer items. Wow, was that a mistake! We got calls, we got letters, we got emails. We got the picture. So we brought it back and, well, we're happy to say we've made a whole lot of people happy.”

Turock said this kind of advertising approach is more likely to appeal to more affluent and discovery-seeking consumers than to those looking strictly for price.

Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillan Doolittle, Chicago, said, “A classic marketer would say no one reads that much copy, yet the Fearless Flyer has been a positive vehicle for Trader Joe's — another example of where it goes against the norm and how it works for them.”