When Covid hit, BWS went all out to help local suppliers, which already battered by floods and bush fires, faced risk of extinction. BWS ditched its pre-Covid plan and campaign went all out for localism, launching a competition for independent brewers, distillers and winemakers to get stocked across its 1,400 stores, creating a marketing template for local suppliers to lift and getting locals to vote for the brands stores would stock. The new plan “smashed it,” according to Head of Marketing Vanessa Rowed. The retailer had been hoping for a 5 per cent sales increase, but hit 20 per cent, delivering the “highest ROI of any campaign we’ve run”, according to Carat’s Bianca Falloon. As states plot routes out of lockdown, Rowed thinks localism is here to stay. Meanwhile, she says local brands can help solve the supply chain crunch looming large over Australia’s Christmas retail – and says the Covid “sprint” has permanently changed BWS’ marketing strategy.