Consumers are increasingly aware of the products they consume and the elements that compose them before taking them into their bodies, that is why in recent years the relevance of organic options has increased or that they indicate to be healthier and more outstanding with the The impact they generate for the environment, for example, according to Statista, since 2013 markets such as North America have become key spaces for this segment, only in 2013 sales of organic products in this country reached 26.7 billion dollars, A figure that at the time contrasted with those registered in other countries, such as Germany or France where it barely reached 8.3 and 4.8 billion dollars in sales, respectively. Of course, in recent years the figures have improved worldwide, however, there are still some barriers that do not allow healthier and more conscious options to reach consumers. In France (and in Europe in general), for example, one of those barriers was the laws of that country that prohibited the proliferation of certain seeds of cereals, fruits and vegetables so that they reached supermarkets. Faced with this problem, the Carrefour supermarket chain decided to take action, in the hands of the Marcel agency, with a campaign that can be considered to have challenged the laws in favor of healthier options for consumers and biodiversity. In this week’s featured campaign we will see the details of this effort known as Black Supermarket.

Black Supermarket: Breaking the laws in favor of the consumer

As we highlighted above, the emergence of this campaign was due to the control that existed over the commercialization of certain species of fruits, cereals and vegetables. The scenario was such that, according to the entities involved, up to 97 percent of the varieties of these products of this type are considered illegal in Europe and much of the world since the official catalog of authorized species is the one that dictates which seeds are eligible for sale and cultivation. « Curiously », a large part of the allowed species belongs to the agrochemical industry, and these consist of variants developed in laboratories which result in hybrid seeds, resistant to pesticides, which for the firms involved represent a great agreement with the law But for the uninvolved and for consumers it represents a disaster for biodiversity and for the taste itself.

Given this, following its principles of seeking the best quality for food and regardless of the heavy fines to which creditors could be made, Carrefour decided to take action on the matter by creating a black market or a “Black Supermarket” within its own stores to give opportunity to the various varieties of cereals, fruits and vegetables.

As highlighted in the previous video, in order to achieve this effort, in addition to announcing it through printed matter and through a film for the media, various stands were set up within Carrefour’s stores in France, alluding to the campaign and They presented the variants of seeds and products for consumers, while alluding to how crude the law is regarding seeds that can be grown and marketed.

A key part of this effort was to achieve an alliance with farmers to join the “Black Supermarket”, which in addition to a campaign could already be considered a protest movement against the law. A 5-year agreement was reached with these farmers to create a sustainable distribution network for their products.

In addition to this effort, there was a petition to change the law, which was widely accepted by consumers, as the video points out, with its launch, at least 85,000 signatures were gathered to boost the claim.

Thanks to this effort, the Black Supermarket generated a national debate in France. All of the major nightly news, radio shows and newspapers covered the campaign. And important public figures, such as prominent chefs, journalists and even farmers’ unions, joined the fight waged by Carrefour, resulting in the generation of 377 million media impressions.


However, the previous one was not the most remarkable achievement of the Black Supermarket campaign, before the discovery of the absurd law, at the time it was possible to sell the equivalent of 153 tons of these products that until that moment were legal and for stores foot traffic increased 15 percent.

On the other hand, thanks to the campaign and the support of consumers towards it, the law finally managed to be changed for the benefit of more than 500 million Europeans. According to the parties involved, in April 2018 the European Union ratified a new regulation on organic agriculture, re-authorizing the sale and cultivation of farmers’ seeds, this after 40 years of being banned.

Another significant achievement is that the Black Supermarket managed to transform the image of the Carrefour brand, it gained + 8pt in Brand Love, and became the favorite retail brand at its time within France.

Finally, from the advertising section, the effort of the Marcel agency managed to win the Grand Prix in Creative Effectiveness at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lions.

Campaign credits

Client: Carrefour

Campaign name: Black Supermarket

Agency: Marcel France.

Production: Marcel France.