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The New Family of Dutch Grocer Albert Heijn Posted by on Dec 4, 2019 in Culture, food

Albert Heijn recently released its latest round of commercials or reclames depicting store manager Ilse juggling her personal life and work. While it is refreshing that Albert Heijn chose a female store manager to follow their previous “character” Henk van Dalen, this new round of commercials has stirred some controversy.

Photo taken by Marco Verch found on Flick.com with license CC BY 2.0

Ilse van de Albert Heijn

As of this najaar or fall, Ilse is the new face of Albert Heijn. She is a 35 year old woman who is store manager at Albert Heijn.  Ilse lives with her son Tommie, her boyfriend Bert, a cat named Muis and her son’s hamsters.

For the last 10 years, Albert Heijn had used the character of Henk van Dalen or Meneer van Dalen as the face of the grocery store chain. The commercials featuring Henk were your average grocery store commercials that promoted certain brands or merken, acties or promotions and had a few specials. Unlike Ilse’s commercials where we can see glimpses of her daily life, Henk was only seen at the store. In the 68 commercials with Henk that I watched for this post, only one mentions anything personal of Henk and that is when his “mom” makes an appearance as Albert Heijn’s most valued customer.

Below is the first commercial of Ilse. Henk van Dalen also comes out as the guy who knows where everything is.

Throughout the first three commercials that have been so far released, we learn that Ilse is plenty busy balancing her personal life with her work.  Not everything Ilse does is portrayed as “perfect,” except preparing dinner because that is easy with Albert Heijn (or so the commercial tells). For the following commercials, click here and here.

Reviews

When Albert Heijn’s first commercial aired in September, there were some positive and negative reactions. The fact that Albert Heijn chose to portray a female store manager to follow Henk van Dalen was certainly complimented. The negative comments focused on the cliches the commercial focused on such as the “super mom” personality of Ilse while the lazy father sits around playing video games and warming up frozen pizza.

One of the articles that critiqued the new Albert Heijn commercials was by Japke-d for the NRC. In this article, Japke-d comments that Ilse is close to a burn-out considering all the things she has to take care of. In this article, she also provides a few tips for Ilse to make her life easier. Below the tips Japke-d offers in the the full article:

Allereerst: Stop met yoga als je daar ‘gehannes in een muf zaaltje’ onder verstaat. Wordt écht niemand gelukkig van. Ga liever buiten wandelen met je zoon – lekker in de herfstbladeren! – in plaats van met hem binnen op de bank te gaan zitten gamen. Daar heb je overigens alle gelegenheid voor, want dat maaltijdpakket dat je je man laat maken, kost onwijs veel tijd.

Dat zou meteen mijn tweede tip zijn: stop met die maaltijdpakketten van Albert Heijn want je bent echt uren bezig om alle groente te snijden. Koop liever een pak voorgesneden groenten en gebruik je eigen kruiden. Is veel sneller klaar en bovendien goedkoper.

Tip 3: Doe huishoudelijke klusjes zoals ontstoppen en Halloween-maskers maken samen met je zoon en/of man. Is veel gezelliger en zo leert iedereen van elkaar.

Tip 4: Ga met de fiets naar je werk. Dat is een hele goede manier om voor én na je werk je hoofd even ‘leeg te maken’. Check einde middag wel altijd even of je band nog hard is. Zo niet, laat de oppas hem plakken.

Tip 5: Bestel je boodschappen via een bezorgservice, dan heb je meer tijd voor thuis. Bekijk welke het beste bij je past, hoewel ik snap dat het raar staat als er een Picnic-wagentje voor het huis van de supermarktmanager van Albert Heijn zou staan.

Lieke en Bas van de Jumbo

Albert Heijn’s Ilse is perhaps a way to appeal in a more personal way just like Jumbo’s average Dutch family family headed by Lieke, Bas and their three children do in their commercials. They are your average family: Lieke gets after Bas for playing with race cars instead of putting groceries away, Bas teases his son for flirting with the employee at the cash register by calling him a Kassanova (kassa is the register), they cycle to the Jumbo in the rain, and Bas takes his grumpy old father to shop at Jumbo. Below is the video for this past summer.

What do you think if Albert Heijn’s Ilse commercials? Do you prefer commercials that focus on the products or do you like the personal story line? Do the grocery stores in your country also include a personal story line in their commercials?

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


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