Merchandising Features / Marketing Features / Design Features / Tactics
Thinking Inside the Box

Store Brand Guru Dave Nichol Remembered

November 6, 2013

Last month, many of us were mourning the loss of Dave Nichol, a pioneer and giant in our industry. So what has that got to do with Jimmy Fallon and Co.? I’ll get to that.

I have always likened Dave Nichol to Steve Jobs. What the latter did for the computer industry, Apple and electronic media, Dave Nichol did for the food industry with his creation of No Name and then President’s Choice in Canada and beyond. He was a genius, with a photographic palate that could remember a flavor from one sample to the next, from one country to the next and from one idea to the next. He was driven by creating innovation in our world and touched so many millions of consumers, whether on TV ads for his beloved Loblaws, in his Insider’s Report along with his dogs, in his recipe books, or simply as the originator of thousands of memorable products. Literally, Dave was driven by “Memories of…” His legacy lives on as we continue to buy the products he so uniquely created. The Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie took over 100 samples before it was “OK by Dave.” It had butter where the competition used margarine. It had twice the chocolate chips and was less expensive than the brand it displaced.

And it is still going as strong as ever after 25 years in the stores.

He was the visible part of the team that turned Loblaws around—just as Steve Jobs did for Apple. If you read the book on either of these giants, there are so many similarities.

In the Hall of Fame, Dave will always be remembered—and in the minds of the countless thousands of people who he worked with, from store personnel and his own development team to the consumers watching him on their living room televisions and the manufacturers around the world that he drove to great heights of creativity and excellence. Some people say that he changed the way Canadians eat. Never was a truer word spoken.

Which brings me back to Jimmy Fallon, etc. I was watching his show last night and saw Brian Wilson with Jeff Beck, backed up by, amongst others, Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks. Dave always reminded me of Brian Wilson. For their similar looks (and hair!), but also for the genius that they brought to their totally separated worlds. “Pet Sounds” was more than revolutionary, as was Dave’s use of his favorite pets in his commercials and on his dog food labels.

 RIP Dave. In “Memories of…” 

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