No Frills drops a surprise album: Haulin’ State of Mind

It’s not Taylor Swift’s Folklore, or even Beyonce’s Lemonade, but No Frills has dropped what is undoubtably the biggest surprise album ever by a major Canadian grocery retailer.

Building on the success of its “A Cart Apart” track, which has garnered nearly 2.3 million views on YouTube since it dropped in May, the Loblaw Companies Limited banner has just released what it describes as the “definitive discount collection.”

Developed with agency partner John St., Haulin’ State of Mind is a 13-track album featuring grocery-specific songs like “Bananas” (sample lyric: “Bananas/the portable fruit/put ‘em in a smoothie/or your cold-pressed juice”) and “Low Bills” (“cashier’s name is Rita/says the prices won’t be beat, yeah/free parking, forget the street, ha/new deals every week, uh”).

And unlike another surprise album, U2’s Songs of Innocence, this one won’t show up on your computer or phone unnannounced. It is available as a free download on streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music, while consumers can also get a free download—as well as exclusive flyer offers—delivered directly to their phone by texting “album” to FRILLLS (374557).

No Frills is promoting the album with a fun new spot that resembles a vintage K-Tel ad, complete with a scroll featuring all of the song titles and soundbites from selected songs. Other campaign partners include SNDWRx and The Vanity.

No Frills isn’t the first brand to release an album using a popular campaign as its springboard. In 2002, Labatt’s Bud Light brand released a soft-rock compilation called Ulterior Emotions that nodded to its popular Bud Light Institute, a fictitious organization tasked with developing technology to keep women busy while guys went out for beers with friends.

Songs on that six-song compilation included “Our relationship is getting stronger with every golf game that I play,” and “You didn’t have to (get me that beer).

Something we learned while writing this story: U.S. actor/comedienne Bette Midler released an album called No Frills in 1983. No songs about groceries though.

Something else we learned: Haulin’ State of Mind‘s cover art is strongly reminiscent of the art for the Dandy Warhols’ 2003 album Welcome to the Monkey House (which also features zero songs about groceries).

Chris Powell