The Weekly Rant: Raley’s, BelAir, and NobHill markets

by Jane Gassner

Those stores are all one and the same, operating under the umbrella of Raley’s.  It’s a Northern California chain of markets and I don’t know about now, but once there was a Mr. Raley.  Actually, I once dated a nephew of Mr. Raley, but that is a story for another time and medium (probably where I’m whispering in your ear).  I don’t know who owns Raley’s now.  I don’t know who is responsible for their latest advertising campaign.  I do know that said campaign sucks in multiple ways; let me count them….

1. Yet another company jumping on the Mom bandwagon.  You can just hear the marketers ’round the water cooler:

“Moms.  That’s the latest buzz word.  Use it and your business will grow.”

“Moms.  What do they know?  They’re just women, girls really, but somehow they got to control all the family expenditures, so we gotta reach them.”

“Moms.  All women are moms and if they’re not, they should be or there’s something wrong with them.  When we talk to women, we’re talking to moms.  Right?”

“The maternal urge is such that it can be manipulated with just a modicum of effort.  The demographic known as Moms are typically unappreciated.  Thus, if we make them think we appreciate them, we can only benefit from their boundless gratitude.”

2.  I shop[ped] at Raley’s.  It’s my local supermarket, I used to feel quite loyal, even when their prices were somewhat higher and their produce somewhat lower than the competing supermarkets.  But they broke up with me.  It’s a Mom’s world, Raley’s says, and since I’m not a mom, obviously it’s not my world.  They don’t want my business?  Okay, fine–I’ll take it to Henry’s or Nugget or Trader Joe’s or one of the big supermarket chains in Northern California.

3.  See this post for someone else who is turned off by this new ad program from Raley’s.

I hate the way the Mom thing is driving advertisers to create an ethos in which nothing but maternity exists.  I can even argue that it’s just another form of sexism: put the little lady in her place, which is barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen cooking all the food she’s bought at Raley’s where It’s A Mom’s World.  Strip away all the hoohah, the pink and the blue, the booties and the pacifiers, and what you’ve got is a world in which women are valued for what their ovaries do and their wombs produce.  The converse of that is….

4. If your ovaries aren’t working and your womb isn’t producing, then you really are limited in what you’re contributing to our grand American way of life.  Should you be taking up space on our planet?  Might not we be better off without your consuming air.  Doesn’t it seem just that the greenest way of life is that lived only by the fertile?

Maybe these questions are best directed to the new ad agency that Raley’s hired in February.  Wanna contact them: here’s the link.

As for me, I paid my last visit to Raley’s today.

  • pam

    Trite is the word. I’m a mom and I’m happy to do everything that goes with it, but to nickname me the CFO just because I hand out allowance, or Chief Medical Officer just because I know where the friggin Band-aids are? I feel kind of laughed at.

    However, I’m going to ignore this ad campaign, just like I ignored the last disaster, “Celebrate Food.” After all, this is Raley’s. Raley’s has problems. At my local store, they’ve had to put the vanilla extract behind the manager’s desk because junkies shoplift it for the alcohol content. And Raley’s charges too much so I’ve been shopping at Winco. My Raley’s budget has dropped to maybe $200 a year. So they can have their laugh.

    • byjane

      I howled when I read the bit about Raley’s needing to put the vanilla extract behind the manager’s desk. And then I had to interrupt my sister’s dissertation on whatever she was talking about to read it to her. She howled too (the laugh is one thing we share), even though I don’t think she’s ever been to a Raley’s.

  • Red Hamster

    Showing honor and respect to motherhood is one thing, but when did motherhood become a target for marketing and manipulating?

    All this “we want to sell you stuff because you’re a mom” marketing seems patronizing.

    • byjane

      @Red Hamster,
      I think motherhood became a target for marketing and manipulating when Mommybloggers branded themselves. The evolution of it at BlogHer was clear. In ’05, the women who had blogs and were mothers created a manifesto of sorts for themselves. In ’06, BlogHer Ad Network started. Raley’s real sin is that they’re so late out of the gate. If they had done their Moms thing several years ago, they would have been applauded as incredibly sensitive to the needs of women. Now they just come of as pandering.

  • elaine

    Right on, Jane! The most patronizing messaging ever. I once freelanced for the launch of their magazine, renamed Something Stupid. Company still in Raleys hands (ever heard of Joyce Raley Teel? They sit around big conference tables and talk about how important this store is, how everyone must look to Raley’s to solve their problems. Arrogant, trite, trivial and provincial. By the way, I was the only Jew. I lasted 4 months. There’s a store literally 3 blocks from my house. Only in emergencies will I go there.

    • byjane

      You’re close enough that I can whisper my Raley story to you. Remind me when I see you. When will that be????

  • Walker

    Good for you, I think we have to take on these people. No offensive, I’m a mom but this whole mom thing is totally out of hand.. don’t even get me started on mommy bloggers!!!
    I want to be marketed to as an intelligent individual who just happens to be a woman. And, now as a post-mommy I’m not sure what they want to do with us? Euthanasia?

    • byjane

      It’s trite and lazy thinking on the part of marketers. I got a tweet from Raley’s saying they’re sorry I was offended; they only meant to honor moms, etc etc etc blah blah blah

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