Gray lands $10 million account with Pa. Giant Chain has grocery stores in Western Maryland, five other states

February 26, 1997|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Baltimore-based advertising firm Gray, Kirk VanSant has landed a $10 million account for a grocery chain that runs the Martin's Food Markets in Western Maryland and grocery stores in five other states, the firm said yesterday.

Gray, Kirk VanSant will handle radio and television advertising for Martin's, as well as for the Giant Food Stores in Pennsylvania and Edwards Super Food Stores in New York and New Jersey through an account with Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores Inc.

Giant Food Stores -- not an affiliate of Landover-based Giant Food Inc., which operates Maryland grocery stores -- chose Gray, Kirk because of its experience with the chain, said Mark Cosby, the chain's vice president of advertising.

Gray, Kirk had created ads for Martin's and Giant stores for the past 15 years, said Roger Gray, president and chief executive officer.

But last fall, after the grocery chain merged with another chain and re-evaluated its marketing, it kicked off a three-month search for an agency. Giant, which is owned by Ahold USA, merged with Edwards Super Food Stores, another Ahold chain.

The merged entity, Giant Food Stores Inc., runs 136 grocery stores, including 15 Martin's in Western Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia; 63 Giants in Pennsylvania and 58 Edwardses in New Jersey and New York.

Advertisements for the three store brands will carry similar messages, focusing on a promise of everyday low prices without special coupons, sales or discount cards. But ads will be tailored to particular geographic areas, Gray said.

"We see women, ages 25 to 54, as the basic demographics, but the lifestyles of the people in Long Island are going to be different from the lifestyle of the people in Allentown," he said.

In a switch from past advertisements, the agency will rely less on using the chain's president and chief executive officer as spokesman, especially for the Edwards stores, which face stiff competition.

"We need to more powerfully communicate the consumer benefits of everyday low pricing," Gray said. "You want the consumers to see themselves in the ads enjoying the benefits."

The Giant Food account is the latest in a recent string of new business for the agency, including Value Rent-A-Car, Frederick Brewing Co. and Reading China & More.

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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